Singapore's petro, chem, pharma sectors lose 180 jobs in '08

16 March 2009 10:40  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Singapore's petroleum, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors saw a total of 180 job losses in 2008, the bulk of which occurred in the fourth quarter as the global financial crisis set in, with further layoffs likely this year, according to a government report released on Monday.

The number represented a sharp spike from the 50 recorded layoffs in the previous year, data from the city-state’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed.

Of the total number of layoffs in the three sectors, 140 lost their jobs in the October-to-December period as a direct consequence of the industry downturn amid the rapid deterioration of global economic fundamentals, according to the report.

Despite the spike in job losses, the manufacturing segment still generated 1,600 net incremental jobs in the three months to December, the data revealed. As of the end of 2008, the sector had 49,900 employees.

Singapore’s overall manufacturing sector laid off a total of 7,000 workers in the fourth quarter of last year, mostly from the electronics and transport equipment industries, amid the global economic downturn.

The city-state's overall unemployment rate rose to a seasonally adjusted 2.5% in December last year.

“The employment outlook dampened considerably as more employers expect business conditions in the next six months to deteriorate,” the ministry said.

Companies in the petroleum, chemical and pharmaceutical sectors are expecting to reduce headcounts further in the first quarter based on survey results contained in the MOM report.

Global chemical firms, primarily those in Europe and the US, have resorted to massive job cuts since September to protect their financial positions amid the slump in global demand.

Based on ICIS news’ latest tally, the job losses in the global chemical industry so far totalled more than 45,000.

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By: Pearl Bantillo
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