Singapore jobs outlook gloomy as only 15% of employers look at hire in Q1 2017
Public servants and contractors sit at their desks at a public housing administration center in Singapore June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Edgar Su

The unemployment rate in Singapore rose in the third quarter to touch the highest in nearly ten years, data released by the Ministry of Manpower showed on Thursday. Showing a mixed picture, the ministry also said employment growth rose the highest level since 2014.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rates inched up over the quarter in September 2019. While overall unemployment rose from 2.2% to 2.3%, among residents the rise was from 3.1% to 3.2%. Among Singapore citizens unemployment rate rose from 3.2% to 3.3%).

The number of retrenchments in the third quarter of 2019 stood at 2,900, higher than in the preceding quarter. Most of the rise in retrenchments was witnessed in manufacturing, construction and services over the quarter.

At the same time, total employment growth in the third quarter of 2019 was higher than in the previous quarter and a year ago. "Total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers) grew by 22,400 in the third quarter of 2019, higher than in the previous quarter (6,200) and a year ago (16,700)," the ministry said in a statement.

"Employment continued to grow and there were still job vacancies available[3]. However, unemployment rates edged up. This points to possible mismatches in the labour market," the ministry added.

According to the data released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on October 14, the island state's economy expanded 0.1 percent on a year-on-year basis in the third quarter of 2019, narrowly avoiding a slip into a technical recession. One of the reasons for the tepid growth was the continued weakness in the manufacturing sector, which contracted 3.5 percent on a year-on-year basis in the third quarter.

Singapore economy expands by 1.8 per cent in Quarter 1
The skyline of the central business district in Singapore Reuters

It was reported on October 15 that global investors pumped $735 million into financial-technology ventures in Singapore during the three quarters of the year, recording a 69 percent rise over the same period a year earlier. The total value of fintech deals in the nine months ended September 30 jumped 69 percent from the prior-year period to US$735 million from US$435 million, the Accenture report said. The fundraising also exceeded the US$642 million raised in all of 2018.

Meanwhile, a World Economic Forum report said earlier this month that Singapore edged out the United States as the world's most competitive economy. According to the "Global Competitiveness Report 2019," the island state reached the top spot among 141 countries and regions.