May Day: 12,800 job losses – how many S’poreans?


Without the breakdown of the jobs statistics into Singaporeans, PRs and foreigners – how do we know the statistics for Singaporeans?

I refer to the article “PM Lee’s May Day message: Good prospects for economy this year but trade tensions a cause for concern” (Straits Times, Apr 30).

It states that “Productivity growth last year reached its highest in seven years, and more jobs were created, including higher-paying ones”.

According to the Ministry of Manpower’s (MOM) Labour Market Advance Release First Quarter 2018, released on 27 April – total employment (excluding foreign domestic workers (FDW)) decreased by 12,800 jobs from 1 January 2017 to 31 March 2018.

As there is no breakdown of the total employment decrease into Singaporeans, permanent residents (PRs) and foreigners – how many of the 12,800 jobs decrease were Singaporeans (if any)?

According to the article “Population likely to be ‘significantly below’ 6.9m by 2030” (Straits Times, Mar 2) – last year, the number of new citizens and permanent residents (PRs) granted was 22,076 and 31,849, respectively.

So, if we account for the foreign workers who were reclassified as resident workers when they became PRs or new citizens – what is the “real” Singaporean job losses (if any) in the last five quarters?

As to “His message comes after the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said last Friday that while unemployment rates have declined from a year ago, further improvement will be harder to achieve.

The resident unemployment rate has dropped to 2.8 per cent in the first quarter of the year, a two-year low, while the seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate also dipped, from 2.1 per cent in the preceding quarter to 2 per cent for the first quarter of this year” – why is there no mention that the citizens’ unemployment rate has actually remained unchanged at 3.0 per cent, instead of the declines in the overall and resident unemployment rates?

Similarly, if we account for the foreign workers who were reclassified as resident workers when they became PRs or citizens – what is the “real” unemployment rate for Singaporeans?

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.