Wages in Singapore up despite inflation

SINGAPORE: Higher inflation ate into Singaporeans’ take-home pay this year but real median income still grew at 2.1%, an improvement over 2021’s 0.9%.

This year’s growth in real income – after adjusting for inflation – was nonetheless lower than the pre-Covid-19 average of 3.8% for the years 2014 to 2019, when inflation was lower, the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) said yesterday in its advance 2022 labour force report.

The report draws on data from MoM’s mid-year Comprehensive Labour Force Survey.

It showed that lower-wage workers saw stronger income growth than the median, with real income for a worker in the 20th percentile for income rising 4.8%.

The growth exceeds that seen from 2014 to 2019, as well as 2021, and implies workers in the 20th percentile can expect their wages to be 55% of the median, the lowest gap since 2004.

Meanwhile, the employment rate for Singaporeans and permanent residents (PRs) rose for the second straight year to 67.5% in June, higher by 2.3 percentage points than the pre-Covid rate of 65.2% in 2019 and up from 67.2% in 2021.

“If ranked against Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries on overall employment rate, Singapore would be placed third,” MoM noted.

The unemployment rate fell over the year, from 3.4% to 2.6% for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) and from 5.1% to 4.4% for non-PMETs.

The long-term unemployment rate also dropped to around pre-Covid levels for both PMETs, at 0.5% and non-PMETs, at 0.7%, MoM added. The proportion of PMETs among all employed residents increased to 64%, from 62% in 2021. — The Straits Times/ANN