01 Feb 08
Foreigners made up one-third of Singapore’s workforce last year and the jobless rate eased to a 10-year low in the fourth quarter, the government said Thursday.
Foreign employment rose by a new high of 144,500 last year and as of December there were 900,800 workers from overseas, accounting for 33 percent of the 2.73 million people employed, the Ministry of Manpower said in a press release.
“Foreign employment rose by a new high of 144,500 in 2007, enabling the economy to grow beyond the limits of Singapore’s indigenous workforce,” it said.
Singapore’s strong economy has lured overseas workers who fill everything from construction jobs to white collar and service work.
The unemployment rate was 1.6 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis in the three months to December, compared with 1.7 percent in the previous quarter, the ministry said.
Preliminary ministry figures showed employment grew by 64,200 in the December quarter, bringing total hirings for 2007 to a record 236,600.
The previous record was 176,000 set in 2006.
“The strong economy led to another record breaking year for employment creation in 2007,” the ministry said.
Job gains were broadly-based, with the services sector recording the biggest rise of 144,100 for the year, it said.
Singapore’s economy grew 7.5 percent in 2007. Faced with a slowing US economy, which is a key market for Singapore exports, growth of 4.5-6.5 percent is expected this year, according to government forecasts.
The city-state had a population of 4.68 million last year, including one million foreigners, according to official statistics.