Consider yourself better off if you earn more than 2,600 Singapore dollars ($1,880) a month. For half the 1.99 million working Singaporeans and permanent residents earn less than that. And the majority of workers who found new jobs this year were hired on contracts for less than three months.
Let me quote from the Ministry of Manpower's Singapore Workforce, 2009 report released today:
Amid the global recession, the proportion of residents aged 25 to 64 in employment fell for the first time in six years to 75.8% in June 2009 from the peak of 77.0% a year ago. This mainly reflected the decline in employment rate for residents in the prime-working age group of 25 to 54 from 81.4% to 80.1%…
There were 5.9% or 116,300 persons (non-seasonally adjusted) in the resident labour force who were unemployed in June 2009, significantly higher than 4.0% or 76,200 a year ago. The rise was felt across all occupations and industries. The unemployment rate increased over the year from 4.3% to 7.1% for production & related workers; sharper than the increase from 5.8% to 7.6% for clerical, sales & service workers; and 2.5% to 3.9% for professionals, managers, executives & technicians.
The report says:
Even though it had decreased, the employment rate for prime-working age men in Singapore remained higher than in many developed and Asian economies…
The comparison with developed economies is not quite appropriate. For the unemployed in welfare states can seek social security. So they may register themselves as unemployed. That's not the case in Singapore.
Still, the government has done good work, saving as many jobs as possible by helping companies pay their workers through the jobs credit programme. More people might have lost their jobs if the government had not helped companies make payroll.
Most new jobs for less than three months
But that does not alter the fact that the labour market has become more uncertain.
Most of the new jobs created are not only temporary — but for less than three months. It's all there in the ministry report:
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