Singapore: What is happening to the Labour Market in 1Q 2021

Singapore’s unemployment rate peaked at 3.5% during September 2020, but things are picking up, and confidence amongst employers is growing, slowly but surely. Uncertainties still abound for many industries – especially the hard-hitting sectors – but the Singapore Government’s swift response to supporting wages through the Job Support Scheme has played a major role in mitigating the financial impact for many businesses. 

As of 3 June 2021, the unemployment rate of Singapore stands at 2.9%. Total employment is reported to have grown in 1Q 2021, the first time since the start of the pandemic. The growth mainly resides in resident employment, while non-resident employment continues to contract across all sectors. However, retrenchment levels have also fallen to pre-pandemic figures, which is a positive sign of a broad-based recovery after 5 quarters of increment.

According to statistics by MOM, the bulk of employment expansion comes from sectors such as Information & Communications, Financial Services and Professional Services. Manufacturing and Construction continue to see muted growth, an inevitable situation due to protracted travel restrictions affecting the inflow of work pass holders. 

Despite that, hopes are still aplenty as business sentiment grows positively. In March 2021, 73% of companies indicated that they have plans to hire, which is an improvement from 65% in December 2020. The labour market in 1Q is definitely showing encouraging signs that Singapore is inching forward towards broad-based recovery, but it will still take some time before a sense of normalcy resumes. 

For more information regarding the labour market 1Q 2021 in Singapore, refer to

This article is written with reference from:

Ministry of Manpower Singapore. (2021, April 28). Infographic: Labour Market Advance Release First Quarter 2021. Retrieved June 21, 2021, from website: