Tuesday, 5 October 2004

Singapore manufacturing outlook weakens but job market picks up

Like much of the rest of the world, Singapore's manufacturing sector appears to be losing momentum. The purchasing manager's index (PMI) for September slipped 1.8 points to 53.2. Although it was the 16th consecutive month above 50, it was the lowest in seven months. The sub-index for new orders fell 3.1 points to 54.6, while the production sub-index fell 4.2 points to 53.9.

The job market, however, is picking up. A survey by Hudson Global Resources shows that at least 43 percent of 500 companies polled in August indicated that they intend to recruit workers in the fourth quarter. Prospects look best in the IT and telecommunications sector, where 52 percent of the firms polled are predicting an increase in headcount, up from the 48 percent in the third quarter.

Of course, it should be kept in mind that the PMI is a leading economic indicator while the job market is a lagging indicator.

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