The Labour Market Report Explained…in Singlish…

Bleak, downturn, uncertainty, decline, worry.

Cloudy skies

This would probably be some of the words associated with the news of the Labour Market Report for the 1st Half of 2016 released by the Manpower Ministry.

Here are the 4 main points in Singlish to help us Singaporeans understand the report:

1. Unemployment rate rose

Say what: Limpeh no job, more of my kakis a lot also no job.

Yup, the number of jobless residents have increased. 9,510 workers were laid off in the first half of 2016, the highest since 2009. And the worst hit? Degree holders, especially older ones in their 40s to 50s.

2. Total Employment growing but slower

Say what: Number of people have job is becoming more. but hor, now the growth slower liao. Foreigner also not that many get job in Singapore. 

Local employment was flat due to a few reasons including:

  • smaller cohort of younger Singaporeans entering the workforce.
  • more baby boomers retiring
  • declines in certain sectors including manufacturing, despite growth in some sectors like Community, Social & Personal Services etc.

Foreign employment continues to be at a moderated pace, with most of the growth from Workpass holders from the F&B and Administration and Support sector.

3. Redundancies rising

Say what: Limpeh lose my job, some more of my Kakis also kena retrench. Some got problem finding job for 6 months.

More workers are being made redundant with the number of finding another job within 6 months lower.

4. Job Vacancies declining

Say what: Limpeh looking for job, other people also looking but then don’t have enough job for all of us. 

The ratio of job vacancies to the number of unemployed fell to below 1.

There you have it, the four main points out of the Labour Market Report which was released today.

What next?

While the report does look a little bleak, there are still things to be done to turn things around.


The total workforce growth will continue to remain moderated because of the structural and cyclical challenges that the economy faces.

The report also indicated the Government’s plan to help Singaporeans moving forward. (Again, we translate that into Singlish for us Singaporeans to understand it the way we do best).

  • Businesses will need to do their part to redesign jobs and restructure to become more manpower-lean, as the Government continues its efforts to regulate foreign manpower inflow.

Say what: Companies must change how they do business. Cannot anyhowly employ more people. if can 1 person work and accomplish more, the better (like Ip Man, 1 person bring down 10 people). The gahmen will continue to control the number of foreign workers coming to Singapore to work. 

  • The government will increase its efforts with tripartite partners to transform industries, create more jobs of higher quality and help displaced workers to seize new job opportunities.

Say what: Gahmen will work with employers and unions to make industries better and make more better quality jobs for retrenched workers to find new jobs. 


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