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Thursday 1 December 2011

S'pore employment rate hits a new high

Job rates this year rose to 78 per cent while median monthly income up by 8.3 per cent

04:45 AM Dec 01, 2011SINGAPORE - As employment hit a new high of 78 per cent for the resident population this year, nominal incomes also rose strongly amid a tighter labour market, even with sustained pressure from inflation this year.

The median monthly income from work (including employer Central Provident Fund contributions) of full-time employed residents rose by 8.3 per cent over the year to S$3,249 this year, higher than the 2.5-per-cent growth registered last year, said the Manpower Ministry (MOM), which released findings from its Labour Force Survey yesterday.

Taking headline inflation into account, the median income rose in real terms by 3.1 per cent this year, after a slight dip of 0.3 per cent last year.

While the median monthly income of full-time employed residents rose 11 per cent over the last 10 years or 1.1 per cent per year, incomes at the bottom 20 per cent rose only 2.6 per cent over the same period, or 0.3 per cent a year, factoring in headline inflation.

For this year, the employment rate reflected both the high labour force participation rate and a lower unemployment rate, said the MOM.

And with the immigration framework tightened, "growth in the resident labour force moderated this year, reflecting the absolute decline in number of permanent residents in the population".

The number of permanent residents in the population fell by 1.7 per cent over the year in June this year, after growing 1.5 per cent last year and 11.5 per cent in 2009.

"Good progress" was made in the employment rate for older residents: A record 61.2 per cent of residents aged 55 to 64 were working last year, up from 59 per cent a year ago.

The employment rate for men in this age group rose from 75 per cent to 76.4 per cent, and from 43.4 per cent to 46.3 per cent for women.

In the prime-working age group of 25 to 54, women saw employment rate reach a high of 73 per cent this year, up from 71.7 per cent a year ago.

The men, on the other hand, clocked a modest increase from 92.4 per cent to 92.6 per cent, still lower than the pre-recession high of 93.3 per cent in 2007.

More residents were employed in both professional, managerial, executive and technician (PMET) and non-PMET jobs this year, with growth in the PMET group outpacing the non-PMETs at 2.2 per cent compared to 1.5 per cent for the latter.

With the sustained job creation, unemployment declined further, with the resident unemployment rate fell to a non-seasonally adjusted 3.9 per cent in June, from 4.1 per cent a year ago, and 5.9 per cent in June 2009.

This was among the lowest unemployment rate recorded for June periods in the past decade, said the MOM.

There were 2.08 million residents in the labour force as at June this year.

The MOM said 66.1 per cent of the resident population aged 15 and over were either working or actively seeking work in 2011, similar to the record 66.2 per cent last year and higher than 64.4 per cent in 2001.

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