Even before the pandemic, business sentiment on the employment forecast in Singapore’s manufacturing sector had consistently been negative for years, indicative of the industry’s intention to transition towards a leaner workforce. Using the data published by the Economic Development Board and the Singapore Department of Statistics, this week’s chart depicts the business sentiment on the employment forecast for the next quarter.
- Prior to the pandemic, business sentiment on employment forecast in the services sector has mostly been positive, with some minor seasonality fluctuations.
- In 2020, as a result of the pandemic, the employment forecast for businesses in both sectors fell as they harbored negative sentiments. However, the fall in the forecast is uneven.
- The services sector experienced one of its largest decline since 2000, highlighting the vulnerability of the sector. On the other hand, while the manufacturing sector also experiences a fall in its employment forecasts, its decline was relatively smaller.
- The recovery for both sectors is uneven. The forecasted 2021 Q1 shows that businesses in the services sector expect their employment size to remain largely unchanged at the COVID-19 level, well below the pre-pandemic level. On the other hand, businesses in the manufacturing sector expect an increase in employment as its sentiment on employment forecast enters the positive region for the first time in recent years.
By CHUA Jun Jie, Sky