In the three months to June, the jobless rate edged up for both residents (3.1 percent vs 3 percent in Q1) and citizens (3.3 percent vs 3.2 percent).
Total employment (excluding foreign domestic workers/ (FDW) rose by 6,200, lower than in Q1 (10,700), but relatively similar to the growth a year ago (6,500). The bulk of employment growth was in services (5,400, excluding FDW), although the growth in the sector was at its lowest since Q3 2016. Employment rose in professional services (2,100), information & communications (2,000), community, social & personal services (1,900), mostly in health & social services and financial & insurance services (1,600). However, these increases were partly offset by the decline in retail trade (-2,900), where hiring intentions remain weak. Meantime, the construction sector continued to expand employment (2,700), reflecting an upturn in demand arising from public sector construction activities. Manufacturing posted a third straight quarter of employment contraction (-1,500), as output in the sector fell.
Some 2,320 workers were laid off, down from 3,230 workers in Q1 and from 3,030 a year earlier. The decline in retrenchments were broad-based across most industries, in particular electronics. While there were less retrenchments among production & related workers (340 vs 1,350 in Q1) and clerical, sales & service workers (290 vs 440), layoffs among professionals, managers, executives & technicians (PMETs) rose (1,680 vs 1,440). Majority of retrenchments were from services (72 percent), led by wholesale trade (19 percent), financial services (17 percent) and professional services (11 percent). Restructuring and reorganisation remained the key reason cited by establishments for retrenchments.
The six-month reentry rate among retrenched residents declined to 60 percent from 66 percent in Q1, but similar to the rate observed in Q1 2018 (61 percent).
The seasonally-adjusted number of job vacancies declined for the second consecutive quarter (47,700 vs 57,100 in Q1), as demand for labour eased. Consequently, the seasonally-adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons dipped to just below 1 (0.94), similar to the ratio in Q4 2017.