by Leong Sze Hian

I refer to the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Labour Market Third Quarter 2010 Report.

Earnings

Average (Mean) Monthly Nominal Earnings Singapore $ Per Employee, has continued to fall from $4,310 to $3,819 and $3,754, for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Qtrs, respectively.

With the economy booming and expected to be the fastest growing in the world at 15 per cent GDP growth, and media reports reporting that the job market is bursting at the seams, why has earnings continued to fall for the second consecutive quarter?

Since we are talking about Average (Mean) Earnings, what is the median earnings?

Normally, as in the past, media earnings may be lower than mean earnings?

So, although the annual growth rate was 5.4 per cent, with inflation hitting 3.8 per cent in November, which is the highest since January 2009, (“S’pore’s inflation hits highest level since Jan 2009”, Channel News Asia, Dec 23), we may yet end the year, with a third consecutive year of negative real median wage increase.

Unemployment

Mature residents aged 40 & over continued to form the largest group of resident job seekers (24,000 or 45%).

As to long-term unemployment, the majority (67%) of them were mature residents age 40 & over.

For Residents Made Redundant, the occupational group, Professionals, Managers, Executives & Technicians (PMETS) formed the largest group, at 51.7 per cent.

By educational attainment, those with a degree, formed the largest group, at 29.9 per cent.

By age group, age 40 & over formed the largest group, at 51.8 per cent.

Sinced the data on residents made redundant pertain to private sector establishments each with at least 25 employees and the public sector, the number made redundant may be more if we include private sector establishments with less than 25 employees.

The number of workers placed on short-week or temporary lay-off rose to 410 in the third quarter, from 290 in the second quarter.

Similarly, the above excludes less than 25 employee establishments.

Re-employment

For re-employment, the improvement over the quarter was for all groups, except for residents with diploma or other professional qualifications whose re-employment rate declined from 64% to 60%.

Business outlook

The business outlook has softened. For example, a smaller net weighted balance of 3% of manufacturers expect improvement in the next six months, down from 18% in the quarter’s survey.

In summary, the above statistics may indicate that perhaps things are not as rosy as most media reports have portrayed, particularly for older and more educated residents on a relative basis.

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