Resident employment rate and median income dip in Singapore

The employment rate of residents aged 25 to 64, the bulk of whom are in their prime working age, fell to 80.3% from 80.8% in 2019.
By: | December 7, 2020

This 2020 rate was close to the average of 80.5% in the last five years, said Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM).  

MOM’s Labour Force in Singapore Advance Release 2020 (LFAR) also reported a decline in real median income of 0.3% in 2020 compared with a growth of 2.2% in 2019. However, for low-income earners in the 20th percentile, the decline in their real median income was steeper at 4.5% due to Circuit Breaker measures affecting taxi/private-hire car drivers and hawkers impacted by the lack of tourists, work-from-home arrangements, and the regulations against dine-in services at food and beverage outlets during the April-to-June period.

The impact on median incomes was somewhat softened by various government schemes aimed to support this group of people.  

Non-PMETs experienced a higher increase in unemployment than PMETs. The unemployment rate for non-PMETs rose to 6.4% in 2020 from 4.7% last year, while that of PMETs increased to 3.5% from 2.9% in the respective periods. 

By age group, the employment rate for residents aged 65 and above rose by 0.9 percentage point year-on-year to 28.5% due to ongoing schemes to raise the employability of senior employees.

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In contrast, the rate among youths aged 15 to 24 declined the most among all age groups dropping 3 percentage points to 30.9% as more in this age group continued their education and would have been employed on a part-time basis in harder-hit sectors like hospitality.  

Recent job leavers, those who left their last jobs within the last six months, spiked to 98,000 in 2020 from 63,300 in 2019 due to the fallout from COVID-19.