SINGAPORE - The labour market reflected slower economic conditions with unemployment rising and vacancies falling in the second quarter of the year.

The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate rose to 2.1 per cent in June this year, up from 1.9 per cent in March, according to official data from the Manpower Ministry on Thursday (Sept 15), after preliminary estimates were released in July.

For citizens, unemployment was up to 3.1 per cent in June, from 2.6 per cent in March, while for residents the rate rose from 2.7 per cent to 3 per cent over the same period.

More people found themselves out of work for at least 25 weeks. The long-term unemployment rate of 0.8 per cent for Singaporeans and permanent residents was the highest since 2010, especially among those aged 40 and over and among degree holders.

Job vacancies, which have been falling since last year, hit 49,400 in June after being adjusted for variations due to peak seasons. However, it was the first time in four years that there were fewer vacancies than job seekers.

The economy added fewer workers in all, as total employment growth slowed to 4,200 over the second quarter, bringing the total number of workers in Singapore to 3,673,400 as of June. The manufacturing sector continued to shed workers, ending the quarter with 3,400 fewer employees than it started with.

Redundancies rose, with 4,800 workers let go in the second quarter. This means 9,510 workers have been retrenched or had their contracts aborted in the first half of the year.