Total employment in Singapore fell for the first time in 5 years. 6,100 lesser people were employed this quarter, as compared to the first quarter of this year.

The sectors that had reduced employment are manufacturing, construction and parts of the services industry. Services has been the main propeller of growth for the past few years, but slowed down dramatically.

Figures in March 2015 show that total employment stands at 3,617,800, which is 2.7% more than last year’s figures.

The number of employees in retail trade, as well as accommodation and food and beverage industries fell by 4,800 and 1,800 respectively. This was because of a fall in tourism numbers in the 1st quarter of this year. Real estate services also saw a dip of 1,900 in employment, while the construction sector saw employment fall by 3,600.

Manufacturing employment continued to fall – it was already in the red in the previous quarter of this year – falling by 6,900 in the face of weak output growth in marine and offshore engineering industries.

The Ministry of Manpower blames these figures on “seasonal declines and sharper moderation in employment growth in sectors with less favorurable business conditions”.

However, growth was seen in the community, social and personal services sector, where 6,500 more people were employed, as well as the administrative and support services sector, where 2,000 more people found jobs.

Economists have warned that the slower growth trajectory looks set to continue until there is a significant pick up in the global growth and markets. They too blamed lower tourist arrivals and a more subdued property market for the slowdown in Singapore’s economy.

DBS economist Irvin Seah pointed to the impact of government policies. “The tightening measures introduced by the Government have restricted a company’s ability to hire more workers,” he said, adding that negative employment figures usually signal that the economy is entering a recession.

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