What a coincidence. More people in Singapore were reported to be driving cars and shunning public transport on the same day that factory output was reported to have fallen last month.
The message was clear enough. People are getting richer in Singapore whatever the shape of the economy.
And, this being Singapore, the good news bumped off the bad news.
Just 59 percent of the morning rush hour trips were made by pubic transport last year, down from 63 percent in 2004, reported the Straits Times on the front page, quoting the 2008 Household Interview Travel Survey.
The fall in factory output last month was banished to the back pages even though it was a more recent development than the drop in public transport use.
And the Straits Times did not even say the 7.7 percent fall in factory output in September compared with the same period last year went contrary to the third-quarter GDP estimates.
Only a fortnight ago, the government announced the economy had grown by 0.8 percent in the third quarter — the first such growth in more than a year.
But those advance estimates were largely based on July and August data, according to a press release issued with them on October 12.
The Straits Times was right, however, in highlighting the good news instead of the bad.
For what is happening in Singapore is nothing less than a miracle.
People are getting richer, not poorer, despite the economic downturn, according to official surveys.
"Singapore household net wealth grew marginally by 0.3 percent from 952 billion Singapore dollars in 2007 to 954 billion Singapore dollars in 2008," the Singapore Department of Statistics said last month in its report, Household Sector Balance Sheet 2008.
It pointed out the household net wealth was well over over three-and-a-half times the gross domestic product (257.4 billion Singapore dollars) last year.
For the first time, Singapore’s net wealth ratio is higher than America’s, it added.
Now that is something others could learn from Singapore: how to get richer in a recession.