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Singapore – Employment grows amid tighter regulations on foreign workers

15 March 2013

Employment in Singapore continued to rise during 2012, as foreign employment growth slowed following tighter regulations on overseas workers, the Ministry of Manpower reported on Thursday.

“With high employment creation, unemployment remained low, despite a rise in layoffs,” the ministry said. “Vacancies eased in December 2012, although there were still more job openings than job seekers available.”

The latest labour market report found that total employment grew by 129,100 or 4.0% in 2012, slightly above the 122,600 or 3.9% in 2011. This was mainly due to an increase in employment in the construction industry.

But excluding construction and foreign domestic workers, the growth in total employment at 86,700 or 3.3% in 2012 was lower than the 95,600 or 3.8% in 2011.

Employment of locals rose by +2.9%, and is substantially higher than the 1.9% seen in 2011. In December 2012, locals accounted for 66.4% of persons employed in Singapore.

Singapore has introduced tighter controls on foreign workers and the statistics show that employment of foreign workers dropped to 70,400 or 5.9% in 2012 from 84,800 or 7.6% a year earlier.  

The annual average unemployment rate remained at a low 2.0%, unchanged from 2011.11,010 workers were made redundant in 2012, up from 9,990 in 2011. But this figure was still below the highs seen during the recession.

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