Singapore – Resident employment rate improves as labor market recovers, share of temporary workers up

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01 December 2021

The employment rate for residents aged 15 and over in Singapore rebounded from 64.5% in June 2020 to 67.2% in June 2021, after falling to 65.2% in June 2019, according to data from the Ministry of Manpower.

The improvement in the employment rate reflects the economic recovery and the impact of measures such as the SGUnited jobs and skills package, the job support program and the job growth incentive in the labor market.

The youth employment rate (aged 15-24) increased from 30.9% in June 2020 to 37.2% in June 2021. This is mainly due to more students accepting work part-time or temporary. The youth employment rate is lower than that of residents between the ages of 25 and 64, as the majority of young people in Singapore are in education or training.

Among residents aged 25 to 64, the employment rate increased from 80.3% in June 2020 to 81.8% in June 2021. The improvement was seen among both men and women. It went from 87.9% to 88.9% for men and from 73.2% to 75.1% for women.

Supported by sustained efforts to improve the employability of seniors, such as the Senior Worker Early Adopter Grant, the employment rate for seniors aged 65 and over rose to 28.5% in June last year despite the recession , and continued to increase at a faster pace to 31.7% in June 2021.

The majority of resident employees were permanent employees (88%). An increase in demand for temporary staff for Covid-19 related activities and economic uncertainty led to a new record high in the share of fixed-term contracts at 8.4%. This is up from 7.3% in June 2020, and driven by increases among residents on contract for less than a year. However, the number of residents with permanent jobs also increased by 50,900.

The unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) of non-PMET residents (non-professionals, managers, managers & technicians) improved from 6.4% in June 2020 to 5.1% in June 2021.

The unemployment rate for resident PMETs also fell slightly, from 3.5% to 3.4%.

However, these rates have not yet returned to pre-Covid-19 rates.

Resident long-term unemployment rates held steady at 0.8% for PMETs and 0.9% for non-PMETs after rising last year. The high long-term unemployment rate compared to the pre-Covid-19 period suggests that some workers who were displaced earlier faced difficulties in their job search.

At the same time, the nominal median income of full-time employed residents increased in June 2021 (3.2%) after decreasing in June 2020 (-0.6%). After controlling for inflation, real median income growth was weaker but remained positive at 1.1%, more than offsetting the 0.4% decline in 2020.

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