Singapore Employment Growth Slows in Q3

Reuters – 31 October 2008

Employment growth in Singapore slowed in the third quarter, with the job market expected to deteriorate further as the global financial crisis takes its toll on an economy already in recession.

Singapore added 57,800 jobs in the third quarter, lower than the 71,400 created in the April-June period, preliminary data from the manpower ministry showed on Friday.

The unemployment rate held steady at 2.2 pct in the September quarter after seasonal adjustments, but analysts warned of tough times ahead.

"It's still early days yet. The worse of the financial crisis only began at the tail end of the third quarter," said Song Seng Wun, an economist at CIMB.

"While (jobless rate) is encouraging, the outlook is far less clear and people are going to have difficulties finding jobs," he said, adding the unemployment rate was expected to rise to 2.6 pct in the fourth quarter.



Singapore is heavily dependent on trade, making the Southeast Asian country a good gauge of the impact of the crisis on the rest of Asia.

In a sign the rout in financial markets has spread into the real economy, Singapore fell into its first recession in six years in the third quarter as the crisis, the worse since the Great Depression, cut demand for exports and factory output.

Preliminary estimates showed the number of retrenchments rose to 2,000 in the third quarter, compared to 1,798 in the previous quarter, the manpower ministry said.

Singapore's Trade Minister Lim Hng Kiang said earlier this month the Southeast Asian country's jobless rate in 2008 will be higher than last year's 2.1 pct.

Singapore reports unemployment on a quarterly basis.