Published today, the Labour Force in Singapore Advance Release 2016 analyses the key trends and profile of Singapore’s resident labour force.

Its key findings include:

  • The resident labour force participation rate (LFPR) trended up
  • A stable employment rate
  • Real median income growth moderated
  • An increase in unemployment rate
Labour force participation rate trended up over the last five years

After a sharp increase in 2015 (68.3%) which was partly from the boost of one-off policies, the LFPR dipped in 2016 (68.0%). Despite the dip, the LFPR has been on an uptrend in the last five years due to rising female LFPR from 57.0% in 2011 to 60.4% in 2016, and stable male LFPR at around 76%.

The overall LFPR for male remains stable but there is a downtrend in LFPR for prime working-age males aged 25 to 54, on the other hand , more older men aged 55 and over have entered the workforce.

As for female labour, the LFPR continued to rise across the prime-working and older age groups. On the whole, the increase in  LFPR among older residents has slowed, with the report also seeing a decline among the young as fewer students were working.

Labour Force_Info G 1


Employment rate similar to last year

The employment rate for residents aged 25 to 64 in 2016 (80.3%) was similar to that in 2015 (80.5%), as the increase in female employment rate offsets the decrease for males. Among males aged 25 to 54, the employment rate declined to its lowest since 2009, with growth in employment rate among older males aged 55 to 64 being flat.

The report also saw a rising share of residents in PMET jobs from 2007 (49%) to 2016 (55%). Even though PMET employment growth for residents was slower at 2.6% p.a. from 2011 to 2016 (as compared to 4.6% p.a. from 2007 to 2011), it was still faster than the increase for clerical, sales and service workers (0.9% p.a.), production and transport operators, cleaners and labourers (0.1% p.a.) in the last five years.

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Unemployment rose amid softer economic conditions

As for the unemployment rate, it had been broadly stable from 2012 to 2015, in the range of 2.6% to 2.9% (seasonally adjusted), as the increase for males was offset by the decline for females.  However, both male and female unemployment rates rose from 2015 to 2016 amid the weaker economic environment.  Consequently, over the same period, the overall resident unemployment rate rose from 2.8% to 3.0% (seasonally adjusted).

The unemployment rate for PMETs also rose to 3.1% in 2016, resuming its uptrend from 2012. While PMETs stood a better chance in employment than non-PMETs, this gap has narrowed in recent years.

Labour Force_unemployment by occupation

Real median income growth moderated

Real median income growth has moderated in 2016 with the nominal median monthly income (including employer CPF contributions) of full-time employed residents rose by 2.7% to $4,056 in June 2016, or 3.2% in real terms (after adjusting for inflation) year-on-year. This moderated from the increase of 4.7% (nominal) and 5.3% (real) in June 2015.

Not only that, there was also sustained median income growth of 25% or 4.5% p.a. in nominal terms from $3,249 to $4,056; and 17% or 3.1% p.a. in real terms. Similarly, income at the 20th percentile of full-time employed residents continued to grow by 22% or 4.0% p.a. in nominal terms; and 14% or 2.6% p.a. in real terms - raising their income from $1,733 in 2011 to $2,106 in 2016.

Infographic / Ministry of Manpower

Photo / 123RF