Unemployment rates fall for fourth straight month

Singapore's unemployment rates dropped for the fourth consecutive month in February, as the economy continued to slowly recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unemployment rates peaked in September last year and persisted through October, before falling steadily since November.

Singapore's hiring situation has continued to improve, with declines seen across the overall, resident and citizen unemployment rates, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo yesterday.

A report by the Ministry of Manpower revealed that the overall unemployment rate fell to 3 per cent in February, down from 3.2 per cent in January.

Resident unemployment, which refers to Singapore citizens and permanent residents, declined to 4.1 per cent, from 4.3 per cent in the preceding month.

Meanwhile, the citizen unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 per cent, from 4.5 per cent.

About 96,800 residents were unemployed in February, including 85,900 citizens.

This is down from 101,900 unemployed residents in January, of whom 89,300 were citizens.

In a Facebook post, Mrs Teo said: "Although the unemployment rates remain elevated and have not yet returned to pre-Covid-19 levels, we are seeing good progress with jobs growth."

She noted that under the Jobs Growth Incentive, which encourages employers to bring forward the hiring of local workers through wage subsidies, payouts were made to some 27,000 employers, who collectively hired 130,000 local workers in the first three months of the scheme's implementation.

"It is encouraging to see that government support for employers to expand local hiring has nudged them to consider a more diverse group of job seekers.

"This includes those from different sectors, those who were previously not employed, and those aged 40 and above," Mrs Teo said.