Singapore Election 2011

Latest news and updates about Singapore's 14th GE

Counter: Singapore has ‘low’ unemployment rate of 2.1 percent

Posted by singaporege2011 on April 21, 2011

The rosy figures from the Manpower Ministry are misleading for the following reasons:

1. Singapore’s unemployment rate lumps ‘citizens’ and ‘PRs’ together under the same category of ‘residents’. The figure in itself is meaningless as most PRs must stay employed to remain in Singapore. The real unemployment for Singapore citizens is likely to be much higher.

2. The figure does not include those on part-time contract jobs who may be ‘jobless’ for a lengthy period of time. These workers are classified as ’employed’ though they should be put under the separate category of ‘underemployed’ instead. MOM still has not revealed the underemployment rate of Singapore citizens.

3. The figure also exclude workers who have given up looking for jobs altogether which will lead to a higher unemployment rate.


3 Responses to “Counter: Singapore has ‘low’ unemployment rate of 2.1 percent”

  1. Depressed Singaporean said

    The government should come clean with the breakdown of the employment figures that constitute to the overall employment rate of Singapore. The breakdown should include:

    Percentage of Singaporeans who are gainfully employed
    Percentage of PRs who are employed
    Percentage of Singaporeans who are on contract or underemployed
    Percentage of Singaporeans who are self employed. (E.g Real estate agents, taxi drivers and insurance agents).

    Self employed and underemployed should not be lumped together in the employment figures because for self employed, it is taxed under Section 10(1)(a) of the Singapore Income Tax Act while employed person is taxed under Section 10(1)(b).

    You may be surprised that the percentage of gainfully employed Singaporeans will be less than 40% as most PRs has to secure a job in Singapore to be given permanent residence status.

  2. James said

    1. PRs are already PRs; it is the long-time work permit holders who actually have to remain employed to stay in Singapore.

    2. Many Singaporeans choose to be serial part-time job holders. “underemployed” refers to you being in a job that does not suit your qualification, not in jobs that change.

    3. I don’t believe there are workers who have “given up” looking for jobs altogether; we are hardworking Singaporeans after all, why would anyone give up knowing we still have families to feed? -.-

  3. prime said


    1. Even so, the main point is that if they did not give the separate figures, they are not presenting a clear picture of the situation. And most likely, the unemployment rate for PRs are lower.

    2. Yes, Singaporeans may choose to be part-time workers or those under very short-term contracts, due to their jobless situation, but even if it is not considered “underemployment”, it should still be considered under a separate category. Moreover, I would really like the underemployment figures available too.

    3. There are people who are not actively looking for jobs by going for career counseling and other similar services, but are on the look-out for jobs on their own. These figures may not have been counted. However, whether it is counted or not (or estimated), all these figures and breakdowns should be made available for us to calculate and decide for ourselves what is the current status.

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