Singapore’s unemployment rate stayed low and trended down over the past four quarters as the labour market remained tight, according to the country’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

The MOM reported that the rate dropped to 1.8 percent in March 2015 from 1.9 percent in the end of 2014.

The employment in March 2015 grew by 2.9 percent, bringing the total number of persons in employment to over 3.6 million, said the ministry, adding that the vacancies continued to outnumber jobseekers.

About 3,500 workers were made redundant in the first quarter of this year, fewer than in the preceding quarter at 3,910, but slightly higher than the first quarter of 2014, said the MOM.

Singaporean Minister of Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin held that the figures are early signs of the slowing growth of the local labour force as baby boomers start to retire and smaller cohorts of young Singaporeans join the workforce.

At the same time, foreign workforce’s growth slowed down, forcing companies to operate with fewer workers and redesign jobs to increase the productivity, investing in skills deepening and technology, and finding new manpower-lean models of business to grow their top-line, he said.

Tan Chuan-Jin also warned that fluctuations will happen as the economy structures and redundancies increase from time to time, but when companies stay competitive and viable, they will continue to generate good opportunities for Singaporeans.-VNA