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Oral Answer by Mrs Josephine Teo, Minister for Manpower, to PQ on Citizen Unemployment Rate

NOTICE PAPER NO. 1938 OF 2019 FOR THE SITTING ON 03 FEBRUARY 2020

QUESTION NO. 3398 FOR ORAL ANSWER

MP: Mr Leon Perera

To ask the Minister for Manpower to what extent do persons who are employed and become new citizens in each year affect the determination of the citizen unemployment rate.

Answer

  1. The citizen unemployment rate is based on the Labour Force Survey, which asks for the citizenship of the respondent at the point of the survey, but does not require the respondent to indicate when he or she obtained citizenship. In any case, the addition of new citizens does not change the citizen unemployment rate in any significant way. Let me illustrate.

  2. Suppose the citizen unemployment rate is 3%. This means, if there were only 100 citizens in the labour force, 3 of them are unemployed. Suppose an employed person becomes a citizen, this translates to a 1% growth in the citizen labour force. There are now 101 citizens in the labour force, but still only 3 who are unemployed. As a result, the citizen unemployment rate falls by 0.03%-point to 2.97%. Compared to 3%, the effect is mathematically very small.

  3. In fact, out of 3.5 million Singapore citizens, significantly less than 1% received their citizenship within the past year.Some are working adults, while others have yet to join the labour force or have retired. This means that the impact to the citizen labour force and unemployment rate is essentially negligible.