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Blurred defocused abstract background of people walking on the street in Orchard Road in Singapore - Crowded city center during rush hour in urban business area zebra crossing - View from building top (Photo by View Apart from Shutterstock.com)

MOM’s latest report puts median income for local residents at $4,437 (before CPF contributions)

The median income of full-time employed residents has continued to grow according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). Since 2013, the median income has risen by 3.5% to S$4,437, which is significantly higher than the 1.9% rise in the previous five years (2008-2013). That's $4,437 including employer CPF contributions, which means the median take-home pay after deducting CPF contributions is $3,549.60.

In their recently released labour force report, MOM stated that lower income earners are also experiencing faster income growth at 4.2% compared to median workers (3.5%), which is narrowing the income gap. This is attributed to tighter labour market regulations due to foreign workforce policy adjustments and other policy measures such as employment credits and the progressive wage model.

One has to note that the statistics used in the MOM's report, are pertain to the resident population, comprising Singapore citizens and permanent residents. Therefore it does not make a distinction between the two and might explain the disbelief some Singaporeans have, of the report.

Part-time employed residents (up to 35 hours a week), however, had no increase in their income (excluding employer CPF contribution) last year. This means that after adjusting for inflation - they had a negative real increase in income. For Singaporeans being mingled with PRs statistics, may fare even worse.

(Image from Comprehensive Labour Force Survey by Manpower Research & Statistics Department, MOM)

As for unemployment, the report showed that unemployment rates for professionals, managers, executives, and technicians (PMET) decreased for a second successive year to 2.9% in 2018 from 3% the previous year. The decline was a little better for non-PMETs, from 4.5% in 2017 to 4% this year.

(Image from Comprehensive Labour Force Survey by Manpower Research & Statistics Department, MOM)

While the unemployment rate for PMET over 50 softened a little this year, the long term unemployment rates that same group rose by from 1.1% to 1.5% in 2018. The report suggested that while PMETs over 50 benefitted from improved labour market conditions, there are still those who face difficulty in re-entering the workforce.

MOM also noted, however, that a higher number of older workers have returned to the workforce as the employment rate for residents ages 65 and over continue to rise from 25.8% in 2017 to 26.8% in 2018.

This has helped to offset the impact of ageing on the labour force participation rate which has broadly stabilised in the recent four years (67.7% in June 2018), following an earlier uptrend.

Over all, employment rates for residents ages 25 – 64 were around 80% which places Singapore 4th among OECD economies in terms of full-time employment (8th overall).

Essentially, the report shows that the local labour market has improved in the past year as the economy has picked up. But the ageing population is putting pressure on the workforce participation rate. Basically, there’s not enough young people entering the workforce to counter the amount of older people leaving the workforce.

You can find the preliminary report on the Comprehensive Labour Force Survey conducted by MOM on their website.