SINGAPORE – Incomes for Singapore residents have surpassed pre-Covid-19 levels this year, rebounding from last year when it was first affected in 16 years due to the pandemic.
The median nominal income of residents – Singaporeans and permanent residents – rose 3.2% to $ 4,680 in June this year, from $ 4,534 in June 2020, according to preliminary estimates released by the Department of Human Resources. of work (MOM) Wednesday 1 December. . This is after falling 0.6 percent last year.
After accounting for inflation, real median income growth was lower at 1.1%, a reversal from the 0.4% drop in the previous year, the ministry said in the report. annual. Data on income relate to persons in full-time employment and include employer contributions to the CPF.
Overall, the labor market has gradually recovered this year, although it has not fully returned to pre-pandemic conditions, MOM noted.
“We expect the labor market recovery to continue in the second half of the year and into 2022, but unevenly across sectors.”
Those who earned less also saw their incomes return to pre-pandemic levels.
The real income of full-time workers in the 20th percentile income bracket increased 4.6 percent, excluding government payments. MOM noted that if government payments to low-income workers are factored in, such as the Workfare Income Supplement, income at the 20th percentile this year is 0.6% above its pre-Covid level.
Over a five-year period from 2016 to this year, the growth in real incomes of low-wage workers “has remained strong, allowing them to continue to gain ground on median incomes,” the ministry said in its report, which is based on mid-August. year data.
Supported by efforts such as the progressive wage model to improve their wages, the real income growth of full-time workers at the 20th percentile was 2.8% per year, above the median of 2.2% per year.
In the last monthly unemployment update given by MOM on Wednesday, the headline rate was unchanged in October at 2.6%.
The unemployment rate for residents fell to 3.4 percent in October, from 3.5 percent in September. The rate of citizens to citizens also improved slightly, from 3.7 percent to 3.6 percent.
Although resident unemployment rates improved over the year, they remain high, MOM said in its report.
The unemployment rate for resident professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) edged down to 3.4 percent in June, from 3.5 percent a year earlier. For non-PMET residents, the rate improved to 5.1 percent, from 6.4 percent.
In addition, long-term unemployment rates for residents, which take into account those who have been unemployed for 25 weeks or more, have remained stable at 0.8% for PMETs and 0.9% for non-PMETs. after increasing last year.
MOM said this high long-term unemployment rate compared to before the pandemic suggests that some workers who have been displaced have encountered difficulties in their job search.
Meanwhile, the employment rate has increased in various groups, with MOM attributing it to the economic recovery and support measures such as the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, the Employment Support Program and the incentive for job growth.
The overall employment rate for residents aged 15 and over rose to 67.2% in June, from 64.5% a year earlier, according to the report.
Another breakdown showed that the employment rate for young people aged 15 to 24 fell from 30.9% to 37.2% over the same period. This was mainly due to the fact that more students were in part-time or temporary work, MOM said.
For residents aged 25 to 64, the employment rate rose to 81.8% in June, from 80.3% the year before. At the same time, the rate of people aged 65 and over rose to 31.7%, from 28.5 last year.
MOM said 88% of resident employees are in permanent positions.
An increase in demand for temporary labor for Covid-19-related activities and economic uncertainty have led to a new high in the share of people on fixed-term contracts at 8.4%. This is an increase from 7.3 percent, due to increases among residents with contracts of less than one year.
However, the number of residents in permanent employment also increased by 50,900, MOM said.
In its report, the ministry also pointed out that full-time workers are working fewer hours per week compared to ten years ago. Full-time workers worked 45 hours per week this year, up from 49.2 hours per week in 2010.
By the end of September, more than 146,000 job seekers had been placed in employment, secondment and training opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills program, MOM said.
JGI, which helps businesses increase the hiring of local job seekers, helped 58,000 businesses hire more than 400,000 locals between September last year and May this year.
MOM said its goal now was to preserve human capital and develop local workers through skills upgrading, while working with employers to rethink professional roles for the future.