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Singapore: Unemployment rate highest in more than a decade

A report released by the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on October 7 showed that the resident unemployment rate in the country rose by 0.4 percentage point in August to 4.5 percent, the highest level in more than a decade.

While monthly unemployment rates have so far generally remained lower than past recessionary highs, they have been gradually rising, added the ministry.

During the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) period in 2003, the rate was 6.2 percent in September. It was 4.9 percent during the global financial crisis in September 2009, noted the report.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said at this point in time, it is difficult to predict whether in the coming months, the unemployment rate will uptick at a faster rate, or stay around the same.

In the three months to the end of June, retrenchments more than doubled to 8,130 compared to the first quarter of the year at 3,220.

She said that the Singaporean Government has introduced a new programme called Jobs Growth Incentive, which provides wage subsidies of 25 percent of the first 5,000 SGD of gross monthly wages for each new local hire below 40. This will double to 50 percent for each of those aged 40 and above.

To be eligible for the scheme, firms must increase the headcount of their local workforce between September and next February, compared with August. They must also increase the number of local jobs that pay at least 1,400 SGD in gross monthly wages./.

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