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Singapore retrenchments in first half of 2020 rose to 11,350, higher than the 9,920 initially estimated

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Total employment in Singapore shrank by 129,100 in the first half of 2020, the largest half-yearly reduction on record. — TODAY file pic
Total employment in Singapore shrank by 129,100 in the first half of 2020, the largest half-yearly reduction on record. — TODAY file pic

SINGAPORE, Sept 14 — Retrenchments rose sharply to 11,350 in the first half of the year, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said today, higher than was estimated at first.

Advanced estimates released on July 29 had forecast that there were 6,700 retrenchments between April and June, making a total of 9,920 layoffs in the first six months of the year.

In the final tally, there were 8,130 retrenchments in the second quarter, MOM said in its latest labour market report.

The total of 11,350 for the first half of 2020 is higher than that seen during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) outbreak, when there were 10,120 job cuts in the first half of 2003, but lower than other past recessionary peaks, MOM said.

During the global financial crisis of 2008, there were 12,760 layoffs.

The resident unemployment rate at the end of June was, however, slightly lower than expected at 3.8 per cent, compared with 3.9 per cent in the advanced estimates.

This comes as total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, contracted by less than expected in the second quarter as well. In the final tally, total employment shrank by 103,500 between April and June, compared with an initial estimate of 121,800.

In all, total employment shrank by 129,100 in the first half of 2020, the largest half-yearly reduction on record, MOM said in the final report on Monday.

Foreign employment fell by 5.7 per cent, sharper than the 2.7 per cent decline in local employment.

MOM also reported fewer job vacancies — 42,400 in June, down from 46,300 in March.

Unemployed persons continued to weigh down the ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons, it added, which was 0.57 in June, though it stayed above the lows of past recessions.

However, job vacancies are said to have risen in a few sectors including financial services, wholesale trade, food-and-beverage services, administrative and support services and public administration and education, the ministry said. — TODAY

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