Unemployment rate dipped in February in Singapore

Unemployment rate dipped in February in Singapore

Singaporeans and permanent residents – unemployment rate in February fell from 4.3 percent to 4.1 percent.

For citizens, the unemployment rate in February fell from 4.5 per cent to 4.3 per cent. 

According to the MOM report, 96,800 residents were unemployed in February, including 85,900 citizens. 

“Although the unemployment rates remain elevated and have not yet returned to pre-COVID levels.

We are seeing good progress with jobs growth,” said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo in a Facebook post on Wednesday. 

She added that the ministry recently made Jobs Growth Incentive (JGI) payouts to 27,000 employers who collectively hired 130,000 locals in the first three months the scheme was implemented. 

The JGI is a wage subsidy scheme that encourages companies to hire more Singaporeans and permanent residents.

It was first announced in August last year and meant to last for five months, before being given an additional S$5.2 billion boost in Budget 2021 and extended until September.

“It is encouraging to see that Government support for employers to expand local hiring has nudged them to consider a more diverse group of job seekers.

This includes those from different sectors, those who were previously not employed, and those aged 40 and above,” Mrs Teo said.

She also warned that with every dip in the unemployment rate, the next drop will “likely be harder to achieve”.

Singapore’s total employment saw its sharpest fall in more than 20 years in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic hit the economy and a “circuit breaker” forced many businesses to suspend operations in April and May.

Resident unemployment rate hit 4.8 per cent in September last year and the overall unemployment rate that month was 3.5 per cent. 

MOM has been releasing monthly unemployment figures since July 2020. Previously, the rates were published quarterly. 

Source: Channel News Asia – Business Singapore

While meeting to discuss issues in the workplace, a young female professional shakes the male human resources representative's hand and smiles. The conversation is taking place in an office and the female employee sits on a comfortable sofa.

Hiring practices will be review by the MOM

Hiring practices of companies will be review by the Ministry of Manpower , as well as those whose Employment Pass and S Pass workforce are “overly concentrated” from a single foreign nationality source, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo.

The hiring practices review comes amid a heightened sense of insecurity about jobs, in an economy battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Announcing the review of hiring practices in Parliament on Tuesday Sep 1, Mrs Teo said MOM will work with other agencies to actively intervene and help such companies reshape their workforce profiles.

The ministry will also engage the human resources community to “do more”, she added.

Mrs Teo was responding to several Members of Parliament, who had posed the issue of job competition between Singaporeans and work pass holders.

She pointed out that work pass policies have been regularly adjusted, slowing down the growth of Employment Pass and S Pass holders.

With COVID-19, the number of Employment Pass and S Pass holders have also come down sharply, she said, adding that this group of workers dropped by 22,000 between January and July this year.

Highest rate level of unemployment in a decade

Singapore’s overall unemployment rate has risen to its highest level in more than a decade, with retrenchments more than doubling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the second quarter, retrenchments more than doubled to 6,700, from 3,220 in the previous quarter.

Mrs Teo said that MOM actively monitors retrenchment exercises, and that the vast majority have so far been conducted fairly and responsibly.

“By and large, there has also not been a weakening of the Singaporean core,” she said.

Nevertheless, these “reassuring observations”, said Mrs Teo, MOM will work with businesses and unions to “advance sound practices” – such as by updating the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment, or through the Fair Retrenchment Framework proposed by the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC).

Singapore companies benefit from the Employment Support Plan

Support Plan for employment benefits more than 140 thousand companies in Singapore, according to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, about 4 billion dollars were allocated in payments.

In his most recent statement, the government spokesman assured that this is part of the more than 20 million dollars that are destined in the budget to serve the population and companies that have been affected at the labor level as a result of the spread of Covid. -19.

According to this month, the government will pay 75 percent of the first $ 4,600 of gross monthly wages per local worker to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

The government has said that this wage support for Singapore companies is quite significant and urged them to use strategies that allow them to retain their workers.

In a statement from the Singapore Finance Ministry that companies do not need to apply for the scheme as the money will be calculated automatically using data from the February Central Provident Fund.

Companies that register with PayNow Corporate before next Friday, May 22 will be able to receive payment by the 28th of the same month, while those that exceed these periods will receive their checks between June 3 and 5.

Companies in the food service industry will receive 50 percent of wages during those seven months, while companies in the aviation and tourism sector will get 75 percent of wages during the full nine months.

This measure has been applied by the Singapore government since last April in different phases and was extended until this May, to provide greater support to the country’s business sector.