Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Are there enough people for Singapore's workforce?

Singapore's unemployment rate in September fell to a seasonally-adjusted 1.7 percent, a decade low, while employment continued to grow strongly as the economy maintained its rapid expansion, the government said.

Figures from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) show that the economy created 57,600 jobs in the third quarter, substantially higher than the increase of 43,000 in the same quarter last year but lower than the record gains of 64,400 in the previous quarter. This brought the total employment gains for the first three quarters of this year to 171,500, which is close to the 176,000 for the whole of last year.

The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate fell to 1.7 percent in September from 2.3 percent in June, "as more of the unemployed found jobs in the rapidly growing economy," said the MOM.

Compared to a year ago, the unemployment rate has fallen by a full percentage point from 2.7 percent in September of last year. Services continued to lead the employment gains, adding 34,500 workers in the third quarter. The manufacturing sector posted gains of 11,800. Driven by the growth in building activities, construction raised its workforce by 10,800, continuing the rapid increase of the previous quarter.

On retrenchment, the MOM report said initial findings showed that 1,700 workers were laid off in the third quarter. The majority of the workers retrenched were from manufacturing (1,200), another 500 workers were laid off from the services industries, it said.

After growing 7.9 percent last year, Singapore's economy in the first half of this year got a better-than-expected growth of 7.6 percent, and grew 9.4 percent in the third quarter. Singapore's growth forecast for the whole year by the government is between 7 and 8 percent.

Will the local's booming economy allow more foreign companies to come Singapore to take advantage of the booming economy?