After inviting more foreigners to take up jobs in Singapore, the unemployment rate hit a record 10-year-high of 3.3% since 2009.

There are also more job seekers than job vacancies in the market, at 47,700 vacancies for 50,745 unemployed residents in Singapore. 77% of these unemployed are holding middle class jobs known as PMET (professionals, managers, executives and technicians).

Foreign employment growth, excluding maids, also overtook local employment growth for the first time in three years. The number of foreigners employed exceed Singaporeans by 11,600 in the first half of 2019, jumping 29 times from a year ago.

A large number of foreigners are largely sourced from India, which Lee Hsien Loong renewed the CECA trade pact with in June 2016.

The Ministry of Manpower however issued a propaganda statement claiming that it is still “good news”:

“Final data confirmed that employers are retaining their existing workers despite economic headwinds… At the same time, hiring sentiments have turned cautious.”

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo is unreachable for comments, while PAP MP Patrick Tay, an executive with government union NTUC, blamed external factors for the massive job losses:

“I expect companies and businesses to be more conservative and cautious, especially in hiring in the latter half of 2019 with the continued United States-China trade tensions.”

The S$16,000-a-month PAP MP have no solution except to reiterate the official line calling for upgrading:

“As the labour market weakens, it will be crucial for companies and employers to partner the labour movement and our affiliated unions to upskill, reskill and second-skill workers so that they stay engaged, empowered, employed and employable.”