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Singapore 2020 employment contracts most in over two decades

·1-min read
Workers work atop the Marina Bay Apple store overlooking the skyline of the central business district in Singapore

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's total employment in 2020 shrank the most in more than two decades, according to official data on Tuesday, with foreigners' jobs accounting for most of the decline in a labour market hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

​ Total employment, excluding foreign domestic workers, contracted by 166,600 last year, the manpower ministry said. Non-residents employment contracted by 181,500.

The overall annual average unemployment rate rose to 3.0%, the highest in a decade, but did not exceed levels recorded in past recessionary periods during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the global financial crisis in 2009.

"Labour market conditions remain uncertain although we have started 2021 on a firmer footing than in 2020. Labour market recovery may be gradual and uneven across sectors," the ministry said.

(Reporting by Chen Lin; Editing by Kim COghill)