Jobs growth in Singapore falls to lowest since 2003

Singapore expects the growth in local workforce numbers will remain muted for the next five years.

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Employment growth slows in singapore
A man passes a Capitaland logo outside an office building in the central business district in Singapore January 22, 2016 Reuters

Singapore added fewer jobs in 2015 than any other year since 2003, the latest data has shown.

The city state, which is an attractive destination for global talent, created only 31,800 additional jobs last year, making it the worst year since 2003 and indicating that the global economic slowdown has visible impact on the island economy.

The rate at which local employment sector grew was even more dismal, data released by the the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed. Only 100 jobs were create locally, in stark contrast to 96,000 jobs in 2014.

Singapore expects the growth in local workforce numbers will remain muted for the next five years, Manpower Minister Lim Swee said, according to Today. The government doesn't expect more than one per cent yearly growth for the next half a decade.

Rising retrenchments

Retrenchments rose in the last year, contributing to poor employment numbers. As many as 14,400 redundancies were announced last year, mostly in manufacturing and services sectors.

The ministry said one of the factors behind the reduction of local jobs was the exit of local property agents.

In a sign of a cooling of the Singapore property market, it emerged last week that more than 100 property agencies shut their business and over 3,500 agents have left the industry in 2015.

Excluding foreign domestic workers, foreign jobs grew only by 22,600 in terms of absolute numbers, the Labour Market Advance Release report showed.

Singapore's total unemployment rate remained at 1.9 per cent in 2015 with 62,400 job seekers out in the cold.

On Tuesday, data showed Singapore's manufacturing output dropped for an 11th consecutive month in December.

Meanwhile, a survey showed this week Singapore was ranked the top country in the Asia-Pacific region for talent competitiveness.

It's the third consecutive year the city state has topped the region in the annual benchmarking study that measures the ability of countries to compete for talent.

This article was first published on January 28, 2016