In the first quarter, the jobless rate was steady for residents (at 3.0 percent), while inched higher for citizens (3.2 percent vs 3.1 percent in Q4).
Total employment (excluding Foreign Domestic Workers/FDW) increased by 12,000, lower than the prior quarter (14,700) because of seasonal factors, but significantly higher than the first quarter 2018 (400). Employment growth mainly seen in services sectors such as community, social & personal services, administrative & support services, professional services, financial services, and transportation & storage. At the same time, amid improvement in private sector building activities, construction registered its first increase in employment, though only slight, after eleven straight quarters of decline. Meanwhile, employment in manufacturing continued to shed workers.
Some 2,500 workers were laid off, similar to the prior quarter (2,510), but slightly above the multi-quarter low in 1Q 2018 (2,320). Trends were mixed across industries. Retrenchments remained unchanged over the quarter in construction, while increased in manufacturing and declined in services.