Singapore’s labour market has improved and income growth is up, MOM says in latest report

The Straits Times

The labour market in June 2018 improved from one year earlier, with a growth in full-time incomes and a moderated unemployment rate, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Thursday (Nov 29).

MOM said in its Labour Force in Singapore Advance Release 2018 report that employment rate in Singapore for residents aged 25 to 64 has remained high, at around 80 per cent.

“Efforts to improve the employability of older workers encouraged more to stay on, and those previously outside the labour force to return to employment,” MOM said, adding that the employment rate for older residents aged 65 and above rose from 25.8 per cent in 2017 to 26.8 per cent this year.

Singaporeans also continued to earn higher incomes in the past five years. The real median income growth of full-time employed residents grew by 3.5 per cent per annum from 2013 to 2018, significantly higher than 1.9 per cent in the previous five years.

Sustained efforts to raise the incomes of low-wage workers helped real income growth at the 20th percentile (4.2 per cent per annum) exceed growth at the median of 3.5 per cent per annum in the recent five years, narrowing the gap with the median worker.

The unemployment rate for PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians) aged 50 and over also softened even as their long-term unemployment rate rose – which suggests that while some PMETs benefitted from improved labour market conditions, there remains a group who face greater difficulty returning to the workforce.

In its report, MOM also observed that improvements in economic activity helped boost the labour market in the last year.

Nonetheless, structural challenges remain, and the ageing population “continues to exert downward pressure” on the labour force participation rate, MOM said.

Together with slower population growth, expansion of the resident labour supply is expected to moderate, the ministry added.