Employment, income growth are now slow
AS WE gear up for the Lunar New Year break, the labour outlook is rather bleak. Employment growth figures released by the Ministry of Manpower show the slowest growth since 2003, when the figure dipped into the negative.
Total employment increased by 0.4 per cent in 2016 compared to 0.9 per cent in 2015. The bulk of the growth was down to residents. Foreign employment fell for the first time since 2009 (the last recession), another sign of the still-tightening tap for foreign labour.
Unemployment nonetheless rose for residents (3 per cent) and citizens (3.1 per cent). Redundancies also hit a since-last-recession high of 19,000.
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Real income (after factoring in inflation) is still growing, but has slowed down from 7 per cent in 2015 to 1.3 per cent in 2016. The nominal median income is now $3,823.
One bright spot: manufacturing grew by a whopping 21.3 per cent in December, more than double the forecast 10.4 per cent. The sector accounts for about a fifth of Singapore’s economy, but economists expect it to take at least half a year before the positive impact spreads through the rest of the economy.
Part-time taxis are now available from SMRT’s fleet for drivers who want to drive less often. The new scheme offers an hourly rate with a minimum of three hours per booking. Rates range from $5.80 per hour during off-peak times to $12.80 per hour during high-demand timings.
The move is expected to help SMRT attract more part-time drivers out of the pool of some 100,000 taxi vocational license holders, and offers an alternative to drivers who were thinking of switching to driving private cars with Uber or Grab.
And now, the CNY weather:
That means please bring an umbrella.
Featured image from TMG file.
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