Jobs: 11,400 locals, 37,300 foreigners – 60,000 new PRs, 40,000 new citizens?

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Slowest employment growth since 2003

I refer to the article “Slowest employment growth since 2003; income growth slows: MOM” (Straits Times, Jan 26).

It states that “The labour market added 10,700 local employed people last year (2016), an increase of 0.5 per cent compared to flat growth the year before.

Overall employment growth dipped, in part because the foreign workforce, excluding domestic workers, had contracted by 2,500 people or 0.2 per cent – the first year it fell since 2009.

The total workforce grew by just 16,400, including domestic workers, amid slower economic growth last year.

At 0.4 per cent, this is the slowest employment growth since 2003, when employment fell by 12,900, according to the Manpower Ministry’s latest preliminary data released on Thursday (Jan 26).”

Employment growth: 10,700 locals, 5,700 foreigners

In 2016, employment growth was 10,700 for locals and 5,700 for foreigners.

However, on the average – 30,000 new permanent residents (PRs) and new citizens have been granted per year.

20,815 new citizens & 29,955 new PRs?

In this regard, according to the article “New citizens need to get involved in all aspects of local life: Josephine Teo” (Channel NewsAsia, Apr 13, 2016) – “There were 20,815 new citizens, and 29,955 new Permanent Residents (PRs) in 2015, as the Government kept its “calibrated pace of immigration””.

Compared to the 20,348 new citizens and 29,854 new PRs in 2014 – this is an increase of 2.3 and 0.3 per cent respectively.

174,166 new citizens & 378,740 new PRs from 2007 – 2015?

This brings the total number of new citizens and PRs granted from 2007 to 2015, to 174,166 and 378,740  respectively.

10,700 locals’ jobs growth vs 30,000 new PRs/20,000 new citizens?

As there were only 10,700 locals’ jobs’ growth last year – if the new PRs and new citizens granted last year was also about 30,000 and 20,000, respectively – how many of the 10,700 locals’ jobs went to Singaporeans?

2015-16: Employment growth – 11,400 locals, 37,300 foreigners?

In the two years from January 2015 to December 2016 – employment growth was 11,400 for locals and 37,300 for foreigners.

2015-16: 60,000 new PRs, 40,000 new citizens?

So, with an estimated 60,000 new PRs and 40,000 new citizens granted in the two years from 2015 to 2016 – how many of the 11,400 locals’ jobs went to Singaporeans?

As to “However, the annual average unemployment rate for Singaporeans and permanent residents last year – while still low – rose to its highest level since 2010, and the number of layoffs hit a seven-year high.

While still low, the annual average unemployment rate for Singaporeans and permanent residents last year rose to its highest level since 2010, at 3 per cent, compared with 2.8 per cent in the year before.

“Annual average unemployment rate”?

The average rate for citizens was 3.1 per cent, while the overall rate was 2.1 per cent” – I believe this may be the first time (to my living memory) that the narrative is using “the annual average unemployment rate”.

“Unemployment rate”?

I understand that in the past – the main narrative may have always been on “the unemployment rate”.

Unemployment rate: 3.5% for citizens?

In this regard, according to a table and summary in the MOM report – the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.5, 3.2 and 2.2 per cent, for citizens, residents and overall, respectively, in December 2016.

There were an estimated 74,000 unemployed residents including 67,400 unemployed citizens in December 2016.

Non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate?

What is the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for citizens and the number of unemployed citizens?

Not captured in “retrenched” statistics?

In respect of “A total of 19,000 people were retrenched or had their contracts aborted, the highest number since the global financial crisis in 2009. Retrenchments alone hit 16,600” – the recent “Surbana termination of 54 employees” saga may have highlighted that there may be thousands who are not captured in the redundancy statistics, as they may have been terminated for poor performance, asked to resign, etc.

Leong Sze Hian


About the Author

Leong Sze Hian has served as the president of 4 professional bodies, honorary consul of 2 countries, an alumnus of Harvard University, authored 4 books, quoted over 1500 times in the media , has been a radio talkshow host, a newspaper daily columnist, Wharton Fellow, SEACeM Fellow, columnist for theonlinecitizen and Malaysiakini, executive producer of Ilo Ilo (40 international awards), Hotel Mumbai (associate producer), invited to speak more than 200 times in about 40 countries, CIFA advisory board member, founding advisor to the Financial Planning Associations of 2 countries. He has 3 Masters, 2 Bachelors degrees and 13 professional  qualifications.