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S'pore posts strongest annual employment growth in years


SINGAPORE, Mar 15 (AFP): Singapore has posted its strongest annual employment growth in eight years, the government said Tuesday.
Total employment grew by 113,300 in 2005, ahead of the previous year's gains of 71,400, the Ministry of Manpower said.
"In absolute terms, this is the highest annual employment created since the gains of 120,300 in 1997," a ministry statement said.
"The strong employment creation last year brought the total number employed to a new record high of 2,319,900 persons as at December 2005."
Employment of citizens and permanent residents-as distinct from Singapore's large number of foreign workers-grew by 63,500 last year, up from gains of 49,900 in 2004.
"The is the highest annual employment creation on record for locals, even exceeding pre-Asian crisis levels," said the ministry, which has recorded the data since 1982.
Foreign employment grew by 49,800, more than twice the increase in 2004 but still lower than the average of 70,400 recorded before the Asian financial crisis began to strike the region in 1997, it said.