The rate of unemployment in Singapore rose slightly in the first quarter compared to the last quarter as layoffs from companies increased.

The Ministry of Manpower released data which showed that unemployment rate ascended 2.1 percent in the first quarter of 2012 from 2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011. With companies worried about the economic slowdown, the growth in jobs was affected.

The report adds that in the first quarter the total employment increased by 27,400 which is less than the increase in the last quarter when the rise was by 37,600 jobs.

Most of the gains in the jobs this quarter were in services sector, which added 19,800 jobs. However, the manufacturing sector saw a decrease in 500 jobs. In the first quarter a total of 2,700 layoffs were reported, which was close to the 2,750 job cuts in the last quarter.

In order to fight unemployment, the Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said in February that the government will cut the proportion of foreign workers that companies can hire.

The economy of Singapore had bounced back strongly in the first quarter to avoid recession. The gross domestic product had grown by 9.9 percent in the first quarter compared to the decline by 2.5 percent in the previous quarter.

However, industrial production had declined by 3.4 percent in March compared to a year ago. The electronic output of Singapore shrank 15.9 percent in March from a year earlier. Also the strength of the Singapore dollar added to the decrease of the export demand.