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Resident unemployment rates in Singapore were higher for most age and education groups in the past quarter, figures from the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) revealed.

More people turn jobless in residents aged below 30, where unemployment grew from 3.8% to 4.6% and for Singaporeans aged 50 and over, where joblessness went up from 2.2% to 3.1%.

The report from MoM revealed that unemployment rates shot up to 3.5% amongst those with diploma & professional qualifications. Unemployment also inched slightly amongst Singaporeans with below secondary qualifications, reaching 2.7% from 1.8% last year.

Meanwhile, the overall unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.2% compared to the previous quarter, with resident and citizen joblessness rate clocking in at 3.2% and 3.5%, respectively.

In terms of employment, the manufacturing and constructions sector dragged down the total number of jobs, which contracted by 6,800 in Q1, a reversal from the modest growth of 2,300 in 4Q16. The slump in construction reflected the slow progress in the private construction activity, whilst the manufacturing sector was pressured by the marine & offshore engineering segment.

It was good news for the services sector, which saw an employment increase of 9,900 in the past quarter. It was led by a healthy number of jobs from community, social & personal services, financial & insurance services, and administrative & support services segments. Only the retail trade service sector reported a decline in employment.

The report also noted that there were fewer layoffs in the said quarter, with only 4,000 who went on the firing line.

"Based on Central Provident Fund records, the six-month re-entry rate among residents made redundant was 64% in the first quarter of 2017, similar to the previous quarter at 65%," the manpower ministry said, noting that professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) formed the majority of residents made redundant.

The number of job vacancies amongst private sector establishment with at least 25 employees also saw a decline, going down slightly from 47,400 in December 2016 to 46,800 in March 2017.

"However, as this decline was offset by an increase in vacancies among small private sector establishments employing less than 25 employees, total vacancies for the whole economy rose in March 2017," MoM explained.