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Singapore resident employment rate edges up but income growth slows: MOM

[SINGAPORE] The resident employment rate was slightly higher in June this year compared to the same month last year despite economic headwinds, according to an advance labour force report on Thursday. 

Additionally, workers' income continued to grow over 2019 but at a slower pace than a year ago, said report from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

The report showed that the employment rate for residents aged 25 to 64 rose from 80.3 per cent in June last year to 80.8 per cent in June this year.

The top four sectors in the hiring of workers were community, social and personal services; professional services; information and communications; and financial and insurance services.

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MOM noted that the employment rate for residents aged 65 and over also rose, from 26.8 per cent in June last year to 27.6 per cent this year.

The ministry attributed this to sustained efforts to increase the employability of older workers.

While resident unemployment rate remained low, the unemployment rate for non-PMETs rose slightly, from 4 per cent a year ago to 4.7 per cent in June this year.

MOM attributed this rise to cyclical effects from the US-China trade war which affected manufacturing and retail trade.

It added that employers might be hiring more cautiously amid uncertainty, with the proportion of residents on fixed-term contracts rising slightly from 7.2 per cent last year to 7.6 per cent this June.

The real median income of full-time employed residents, which includes employers' CPF contributions, grew by 2.2 per cent this year, according to preliminary data. This is lower than the 4.4 per cent last year.

However wage growth in the last five years from 2014 is higher than that in the preceding five years before 2014.

Real median income growth stands at 3.8 per cent per annum from 2014 to this year, compared with the 1.9 per cent per annum in the five years before that.

Efforts to boost low wage workers also helped, with income at the 20th percentile also rising more since 2014 than in the preceding five years before that.

The ministry said in a statement: "MOM and Workforce Singapore are closely monitoring the labour market and stand ready to step up employment support for Singaporeans through the Adapt and Grow initiative.

"We encourage employers to work with tripartite partners to train workers with skill gaps.

"We also encourage jobseekers to be open to opportunities in other sectors... beyond what they are familiar with."