SINGAPORE – Job vacancies in Singapore shrunk to 126,100 in June this year after seven straight quarters of increase, but there are still more vacancies available per unemployed person as unemployment rates decline.

Although the figure is down from a record high of 128,100 vacancies in March, it remains higher than 117,100 in December last year.

The ratio of vacancies available to each unemployed person rose to 2.53 from 2.42 in March 2022. This means the number of unemployed people available to fill these vacancies has declined more than the number of vacancies has, reflecting the tightness of the market.

In its labour market report for the second quarter of 2022, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) also found that total employment grew by 66,500 in the second quarter, significantly higher than the 42,000 increase in the previous quarter, and the highest since the second quarter of 2008 in the throes of the global financial crisis.

The latest round of employment growth means total employment has reached 99.5 per cent of the pre-pandemic level in December 2019, noted MOM on Wednesday.

Driving much of the increase in the second quarter, at 59,400, were non-residents, especially in construction and manufacturing, as employers backfilled positions following the significant relaxation of border controls back in April.

Non-resident employment rose across all pass types in the first half of 2022, with the bulk, or 80,900, coming from work permit and other work pass holders, and around 7,000 each for  S Pass and Employment Pass holders.

However, non-resident employment remains 10 per cent below the pre-pandemic level, said MOM.

Resident employment, comprising Singaporeans and permanent residents rose to 4.2 per cent above the pre-pandemic level in June 2022, with the largest increases recorded in financial and insurance services, information and communications and professional services.

Singapore’s overall unemployment rate declined further to 2.1 per cent in July from 2.2 per cent in March, while the resident unemployment rate declined from 3 per cent to 2.9 per cent over the same period – within pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, retrenchments fell to 990, rewriting the previous record low of 1,320 in the first quarter.

This translates to a retrenchment rate of five per 10,000 employees.

Behind much of the decline was a marked drop in retrenchments in manufacturing,  namely for roles in fabricated metal products, machinery and equipment manufacturing, as well as electronics manufacturing.

“Like previous quarters, the few retrenchments that did occur were mainly due to business reorganisation or restructuring.

“Poorer business and higher costs were also common reasons for the retrenchments in Q2 2022, as global headwinds weigh on business sentiments of retrenching firms,” said MOM.