Labour Market Report Q4 2022: Total Employment Surpasses Pre-pandemic Levels

While the growth was primarily due to hiring Work Permit Holders in the Construction and Manufacturing sectors, resident employment also saw growth surpassing pre-pandemic times.
By Ian Tan Hanhonn 15 Mar 2023

Singapore’s total employment grew by an unprecedented 227,800 in 2022. This was 2.9 per cent higher than 2019’s pre-pandemic levels, revealed Manpower Minister Tan See Leng during a company visit to Agape Services on 15 March 2023.

During the visit, the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Manpower Research and Statistics Department gave a full-year review following its release of the Labour Market Report.

The growth was mainly due to hiring Work Permit Holders in the Construction and Manufacturing sectors as employers backfilled positions following the relaxation of border controls in April 2022.

Resident employment also improved in 2022, growing by 26,300 or 4.8 per cent higher than in 2019.

The growth in resident employment was seen mainly in outward-oriented sectors such as Financial Services, Information & Communications and Professional Services.

Resident and long-term unemployment in 2022 also improved compared to the preceding year – falling from 3.5 to 2.9 per cent and 0.9 to 0.6 per cent, respectively.

But despite the positive labour market results of 2022, Dr Tan said that Singapore needs to be prepared for global headwinds and economic uncertainties this year.

“Moving forward in the next one, two quarters, we are going to find it quite challenging,” he said.

Labour Market Outlook

As of February 2023, the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) forecasted Singapore’s GDP growth for the year at a range of 0.5 to 2.5 per cent – lower than 2022’s recorded GDP of 3.6 per cent.

The Government expects global economic uncertainties to persist, including tighter financial conditions across many advanced economies.

Domestically, the Government expects aviation and tourism-related sectors, such as Air Transport and Accommodation, to continue to benefit from the recovery in air travel and inbound tourism.


Even though retrenchment was on an upward trend for the last two quarters of 2022, the total number of retrenchments of 6,440 for 2022 was lower than 2019’s 10,690.

The top reasons given by employers for retrenchments in 2022 were business reorganisation and restructuring.

The percentage of retrenched residents who found employment within six months of getting retrenched increased to 73.1 per cent in the last quarter of 2022 – the highest since the second quarter of 2015, added MOM.