Singapore’s job market was characterised by a significant increase in locals employed, lower unemployment and slight redundancies towards the end of 2014.
Local employment was pegged higher in the fourth quarter of 2014 (Q4) at 39,600 – more than the 33,400 hires in Q3 – supported by hiring activity for year-end festivities.
In total, employment in 2014 is estimated to have increased by 129,000, lower than the 136,200 in 2013 and similar to the 129,100 in 2012, the Ministry of Manpower stated in its latest employment situation report.
As a result, unemployment remained low for the month of December at 1.9%, as the metric for both residents (from 2.8% to 2.6%) and citizens (from 2.9% to 2.6%) declined over the quarter.
For the year, total unemployment stayed low at 2% overall, and 2.7% and 2.9% for residents and citizens respectively, broadly unchanged from 2013.
This is despite more employees having been made redundant amidst business restructuring. The findings state that 3,800 workers were laid off in Q4 2014, up from 3,500 in Q3 and 3,660 in Q4 2013. In total, 12,800 workers were laid off in 2014, higher than the 11,560 in 2013.
The last five years have seen a sustained increase in median income for Singaporeans. The median monthly income from work of full-time employed citizens (including employer CPF contributions) increased by 30% from $2,748 in 2009 to $3,566 in 2014, growth of about 5.3% per annum.
Even after adjusting for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, the real median income grew by 11% or 2.1% per annum over these five years.
The findings credit initiatives to raise the incomes of low-wage workers for income growth at the 20th percentile, keeping pace with the median income growth in the past five years.
“Income (including employer CPF contributions) at the 20th percentile of full-time employed citizens rose by 26% from $1,468 in 2009 to $1,856 in 2014 in nominal terms, or 4.8% per annum,” the statement cited.
This increase, after adjusting for inflation, was 8.1% or 1.6% per annum.