The survey was conducted to measure production, hiring, and general sentiment in the corporate sector using a baseline reading. Anything above 50 means there has been an expansion while a reading below 50 suggests a contraction.
The headline reading for November was reported at 52.8, a nearly three-point increase from the headline reading from October (50.5).
Using data from more than 400 companies compiled by data analytics firm IHS Markit, PMI’s survey backs up a similar poll conducted by the Singapore Institute of Purchasing & Materials Management that showed a manufacturing PMI for November at 50.2.
“Though only moderate overall, the rate of job creation was the fastest since June 2014. A number of survey respondents that expanded their workforce numbers attributed the rise to increased employment of part-time staff," said IHS Markit in a statement.
However, it’s not all good news.
Bernard Aw, IHS Markit economist told The Straits Times that a number of firms cited an increase in part-time employment and this “casts doubt over the strength of the business outlook in the coming months”.
Other factors that contribute to a mixed outlook include:
• A contraction of 2% in the third quarter of the country’s trade-reliant economy citing a slowing global economy;
• A narrowed growth forecast of the Ministry of Trade and Industry
from 2% to 1.5% while next year’s expansion is tipped at 1 to 3%;
• A weak job market that showed unemployment rising from 2.8 to 3%, according to the Ministry of Manpower’s latest results.
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Despite a bleak outlook and a weak job market, a survey conducted by the Nikkei Singapore Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) found that “companies stepped up hiring and increased output to meet stronger demand”.