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Singapore Jobless Rate Hits Six-Year Low in Second Quarter

Singapore's quarterly jobless rate fell to six-year low on Tuesday while its workforce grew at the fastest pace since records began in 1980, a further sign that the central bank may face rising inflation.

Ministry of Manpower preliminary data showed that the unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 2.4% in the second quarter, the lowest level since the second quarter of 2001. Unemployment in the first quarter stood at 2.9%.

Employment rose by 61,900 in the three months to the end of June, the ministry said, up 25% from 49,400 in the first three months of the year.

Singapore's trade-dependent economy grew at an annualized 12.8% in the second quarter, its fastest clip in two years, driven by a manufacturing upswing and a construction boom.

Last week, the government said that annual inflation had reached a one-year high in June. Two days later, the central bank said it would be vigilant about rising prices, citing a surge in the property market.

Economists have said that rising wage costs could exert upward pressure on consumer prices in the Southeast Asian city.

The manpower ministry said in a statement that employment grew in all sectors, with the services industry alone adding 33,600 workers in the second quarter, followed by 16,600 new jobs in manufacturing.

Singapore's construction industry added 11,400 people to its workforce, more than double the 5,400 figure in the previous quarter, thanks to big projects including two huge casinos and several new residential developments. Singapore reports unemployment on a quarterly basis.

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