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Singapore reports record 25,600 job losses in Q1

Singapore's employment fell at the steepest pace on record in the first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic unsettled the country's labor market and economy, data from the country's Ministry of Manpower showed.

The total number of those in employment in the Southeast Asian city-state dropped 25,600 on a quarterly basis. The record slump was driven primarily by a fall in foreign employment.

"Labor market conditions are likely to worsen in the upcoming quarter, given the sharp fall in hiring demand globally as well as in Singapore due to circuit breaker measures," the Ministry of Manpower warned.

Singapore's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged up 0.1% to 2.4% in the quarter, but managed to stay below highs recorded during the 2008 financial crisis and the SARS epidemic.

Layoffs were 3,220 in the first quarter but measures supporting businesses to retain workers through the pandemic prevented retrenchment numbers from surging to the peak of 12,760 seen during the financial crisis.

Still, 4,190 workers were temporarily laid off or placed on a shorter working week, compared to the prior quarter's print of 840, while average paid hours of work fell to 44.4 hours from 44.7.

In addition, the seasonally adjusted number of job vacancies slid to 46,300, the lowest level since September 2010.