Employment Situation 2013


  1. Unemployment stayed low and income growth of Singaporeans strengthened in 2013. Local employment rose more quickly in the year, as the growth in foreign workers continued to moderate amid tightened foreign manpower measures. These are the key findings from the “Employment Situation 2013” report released by the Ministry of Manpower’s Research and Statistics Department.

    Main Findings

    Unemployment remained low
  2. Unemployment remained low in December 2013. Preliminary estimates showed that December 2013 overall (1.8%) and citizen (2.8%) unemployment rates were unchanged from September 2013. The resident unemployment rate edged up slightly by 0.1%-point from 2.6% in September 2013 to 2.7% in December 2013.
  3. For the whole of 2013, the annual average overall and citizen unemployment rates dipped to 1.9% and 2.9% respectively, while the resident rate remained unchanged at 2.8%.

    Local employment rose more quickly, as foreign workforce growth continued to moderate
  4. Supported by hirings for year-end festivities, employment growth was higher in the fourth quarter of 2013 (39,200) than in the previous quarter (33,100), but lower than in the fourth quarter of last year (44,000).
  5. For the whole of 2013, total employment is estimated to have increased by 134,900 over the year, higher than the 129,100 in 2012. Higher employment growth over the year was mainly driven by locals, as the pace of growth in the foreign workforce continued to slow amid tightened foreign manpower measures. In December 2013, locals accounted for 66.2% of persons employed in Singapore (excluding foreign domestic workers), with foreigners forming 33.8%.

    Redundancies rose in the fourth quarter, but remained below recessionary levels
  6. 3,500 workers were laid off in the fourth quarter of 2013, higher than the 2,710 workers made redundant in preceding quarter, though this was lower than 6,000 to 12,800 workers laid off per quarter during the last recession in 2008/09. For the full year 2013, 11,400 workers were laid off, slightly higher than 2012 (11,010).

    Income growth strengthened
  7. Income growth strengthened in 2013, amid the tight labour market. The nominal median monthly income from work of full-time employed citizens (including employer CPF contributions) increased over the year by 7.1% to $3,480 in June 2013, up from gains of 5.8% in the preceding year. As inflation eased1, the growth in real median income, deflated by Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items, accelerated from 1.2% in 2012 to 4.6% in 2013.

    For more information
  8. The “Employment Situation, 2013” report is available on the MOM’s Statistics and Publications webpage. More comprehensive labour market data will be released in the “Labour Market Report, 2013” on 14 March 2014.

1 The Consumer Price Index for all items rose over the year by 2.4% in 2013, lower than the increase of 4.6% in 2012. – See more at: http://www.mom.gov.sg/newsroom/Pages/PressReleasesDetail.aspx?listid=541#sthash.tQ3QF4RN.dpuf

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