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Labour force in Singapore advance release 2017

Overview

  1. The employment rates for residents aged 25 to 64 and 65 and over continued their uptrend in June 2016 – June 2017. Over the same period, the employment rate for residents aged 15 to 24 declined, reflecting the higher propensity of youths to pursue further education and postpone entry into the labour force. With the improvement in economic conditions, real median income rose faster over the same period. Real income growth for both the median and 20th percentile were also significantly faster in the five years ending June 2017, compared to the preceding five-year period.

  2. At the same time, the unemployment and long-term unemployment rates for PMETs1 showed signs of improvement. While the unemployment rate for non-PMETs rose, their long-term unemployment rate remained unchanged. These are the key findings from the “Labour Force in Singapore Advance Release 2017”, an annual report issued by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department2.


    Main Findings

  3. The employment rate for residents aged 25 to 64 continued to increase to 80.7% in June 2017. Likewise, the employment rate for residents aged 65 and over increased to 25.8%, but it declined to 34.1% for residents aged 15 to 24.

  4. For PMETs, the unemployment and long-term unemployment rates3  showed signs of improvement after trending up in recent years. For non-PMETs, the unemployment rate rose, while their long-term unemployment rate remained unchanged.

  5. Median income rose faster year-on-year in June 2017. The nominal median monthly income (including employer CPF contributions) of full-time employed residents increased by 4.3% to $4,232 in June 2017. The increase was 3.7%P in real terms, higher than 3.3% in June 2016.

  6. Over the last five years from June 2012 to June 2017, real income growth at the 20th percentile of full-time employed residents (4.2% p.a.P) was faster than at the median (3.4% p.a.P), supported by Government initiatives to raise incomes of low-wage workers. Real income growth for both groups were significantly faster than in the preceding five years.

  7. The labour force participation rate (LFPR) for residents aged 15 and over declined slightly from 68.0% in June 2016 to 67.7% in June 2017, following sustained increases over the decade. This is due to population ageing and higher propensity of youths to postpone entry into the labour force. Among residents aged 25 to 64, LFPR continued to increase, reaching 83.6% in June 2017. However, the dip in overall LFPR did not reflect an increase in the number of discouraged workers, which fell slightly from 9,900 in June 2016 to 9,500 in June 2017, and stayed low at 0.4% of the resident labour force since June 2013.

  8. The number of residents outside the labour force who intended to look for jobs in the next two years fell to a new low in June 2017 (134,500 or 12% of residents outside the labour force).

  9. Conclusion

  10. While the employment rates for residents aged 25 to 64 and 65 and over continue to increase, we expect population ageing and the higher propensity of youths to postpone entry into the labour force to exert downward pressure on the overall employment rate in the years ahead. Local workforce growth is expected to continue to slow further. The dip in the PMET long-term unemployment rate suggests that more locals are re-skilling to take on new jobs or switch careers as the economy restructures, with Government support through SkillsFuture and the Adapt & Grow initiative. For real income growth to be sustained, firms will have to continue to transform and grow to become more productive. In a manpower-lean environment, it is also important for firms to adopt progressive human capital practices. They will have to invest in their workers and build inclusive workplaces to value every employee regardless of age, gender and qualification. We will need to press on with efforts to help low-wage workers be better deployed, allow older workers to remain in employment longer, and make available more flexible work arrangements, especially for those with caregiving responsibilities.

  11. For More Information

  12. The report is available at http://stats.mom.gov.sg/Pages/Home.aspx. A full report of the survey findings will be published in the “Labour Force in Singapore 2017” report on 26 January 2018.

FOOTNOTE

  1. Professionals, managers, executives & technicians.
  2. Data in the report are based on the Comprehensive Labour Force Survey conducted in mid-2017. The data pertain to the resident population, comprising Singapore citizens and permanent residents.
  3. Non-seasonally adjusted.
  4. Inclusive of discouraged workers.
  5. P: preliminary
Last Updated: 30 November 2017