By Kevin Varley
(Bloomberg) — Following the relaxation of border controls after the pandemic, Singapore’s foreign workforce registered the strongest growth in at least 5 years, while falling just shy of pre-Covid numbers numbers in 2019.
The total foreign workforce climbed 19% to 1,424,200 in 2022, with work permit holders topping 1 million, according to figures on the Ministry of Manpower website.
The increase was primarily due to the hiring of work permit holders in sectors such as construction and manufacturing as employers backfilled positions, while other categories saw a decline from the 2019 levels.
Foreign employment fell during the pandemic as many workers left the country, while local employment was largely steady. The overall jobless rate in Singapore fell to 2.1% last year, though the number of retrenchments doubled in the fourth quarter.
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