31,700 jobs added in Q2 but labour productivity falls
More jobs were created in Singapore in the second quarter of this year amid an uncertain economic outlook.
The Manpower Ministry said today that total employment grew by nearly 31,700.
However, this stronger showing caused labour productivity to fall by 1.9 per cent.
Amid subdued prospects in the global economy, the job market is still rosy - with 16.5 per cent more jobs added between April and June.
Most of the job gains came from the services sector.
But the number of job vacancies fell - by 8.9 per cent.
Head of marketing and Communications at Adecco, Ian Grundy, believes companies are taking their time to hire the best.
"Companies are still hiring and that's why we are seeing a growth in the number of people at work. They are still trying to identify the best talents and in many organisations today whether the economy is growing or in challenging times there really have to make sure they've got the very best people when the market picks back up."
The second quarter labour market report showed unemployment dipped to 2 per cent.
The number of layoffs also fell for the second successive quarter.
Some 2,200 workers were made redundant down from 2,600 in the first quarter of 2012.
The increase in employment creation has caused labour productivity to fall.
This was the third consecutive quarter productivity has declined.
Manufacturing was the only industry that recorded growth of labour productivity - by 3 per cent.
Productivity in construction and services both saw declines.
Earlier this week, Acting Manpower Minister Tan Chuan-Jin had expressed concerns about Singapore's low productivity growth rates.
This is because employment has been growing faster than Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Government had forecast GDP growth of between 1.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent this year.
Labour productivity is calculated by dividing GDP by the number of workers.
However, labour economist from SIM University Associate Professor Randolph Tan remains optimistic.
"It's the way productivity is calculated in these reports. There's no intrinsic reason, as far as I can see, why Singapore's productivity performance cannot actually improve in the long run. I think one of the main reasons why our productivity performance has been poorer is because we've seen rapid changes in the economy and it takes time for workers to settle down and improve their performance at the particular jobs they are doing."
Singapore has set itself an annual productivity growth target of 2 to 3 per cent, since 2010.
-By Saifulbahri Ismail
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