Unemployment rate in Singapore 2019

The unemployment rate in Singapore fell to around 3.62 percent in 2019 from 3.77 percent in the year before. For many economies, this would be considered overemployment, but Singapore may have a lower natural unemployment rate than other economies.

What’s wrong with overemployment?

When there are not enough workers, firms are forced to hire anyone who is available. This means that employers may not select the best applicants but rather anyone who applies. This leads to lower productivity, because workers are not finding the job for which they are best suited. Companies may also have to offer wages that are so high that they also lead to a rise in prices and thus, to a higher inflation.

Singapore may be different

Singapore has a small, open economy. It has the highest gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in the region, indicating that it is an advanced economy. This is largely due to the small population, which is almost entirely urban. As such, its workforce may be better matched to employer needs, which would reduce the natural level of unemployment.

Singapore: Unemployment rate from 1999 to 2019

Unemployment rate
2016 4.08%
2015 3.79%
2014 3.74%
2013 3.86%
2012 3.72%
2011 3.89%
2010 4.12%
2009 5.86%
2008 3.96%
2006 4.48%
2005 5.59%
2004 5.84%
2003 5.93%
2002 5.65%
2001 3.76%
2000 3.7%
1999 4.85%
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Release date

December 2019



Survey time period

1999 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Figures have been rounded.

All figures are modeled ILO estimates.

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