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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        31 January 2011

Singapore services sector shows gains

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Singapore's total employment rose by 112,500 last year, three times higher than in 2009.

That brought the total figure to 3.1 million jobs.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said the bulk of last year's employment gains came from the services sector, which added 109,500 workers, almost double the number in 2009.

Construction employment saw modest gains of 2,300 due to completion of several large building projects and fewer projects coming on stream.

While manufacturing employment declined by 2,700, MOM said this was much lower than the losses of 43,700 in 2009.

The ministry said in the last quarter of 2010 alone, some 30,600 jobs were added overall, supported by hirings for the year-end festivities.

Local employment grew by 54,200 last year, exceeding the 41,800 gains in 2009.

But with the strong economic recovery and higher demand for manpower, foreign employment increased by 58,300 after declining in 2009.

As at December 2010, there were almost 2 million locals forming 64.2 per cent of the 3.1 million persons employed in Singapore. The rest were foreigners.

For the whole year of 2010, 9,800 workers were made redundant, down substantially from 23,430 in 2009.

The overall unemployment rate rose slightly to a seasonally adjusted 2.2 per cent in December 2010 from 2.1 per cent in September

But with the strong economic recovery, the unemployment rate averaged 2.2 per cent.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

04 January 2011
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It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More

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