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Unemployment remains low, income growth strengthens in 2013

Unemployment stayed low and the income growth of Singaporeans strengthened in 2013. Local employment rose more quickly in the year, as the growth in the number of foreign workers continued to moderate amid tightened foreign manpower measures.

SINGAPORE: Unemployment stayed low and the income growth of Singaporeans strengthened in 2013.

Local employment rose more quickly in the year, as the growth in the number of foreign workers continued to moderate amid tightened foreign manpower measures.

Those are the key findings from a Manpower Ministry's report on Singapore's employment situation in 2013.

A ministry statement on Wednesday said as inflation eased, real median income grew at a higher rate in 2013 compared to 2012.

The income growth, deflated by Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items, was 4.6 per cent in 2013, up from 1.2 per cent in 2012.

Nominal median monthly income from the work of full-time employed citizens, including employer CPF contributions, increased over the year by 7.1 per cent to S$3,480 in June 2013.

The rate of increase was higher than the preceding year's 5.8 per cent.

For the whole of 2013, total employment is estimated to have increased by 134,900 over the year, higher than the 129,100 in 2012.

The ministry said the higher employment growth over the year was mainly driven by locals.

It noted that the pace of growth in the foreign workforce continued to slow amid tightened foreign manpower measures.

In December 2013, locals accounted for 66.2 per cent of persons employed in Singapore (excluding foreign domestic workers), with foreigners forming 33.8 per cent.

The ministry said preliminary estimates showed that the overall and citizen unemployment rates were unchanged from September to December 2013.

The overall rate was 1.8 per cent while the citizen rate was 2.8 per cent for both quarters.

Supported by hirings for year-end festivities, employment growth in the fourth quarter (39,200) of 2013 was higher compared to the third (33,100).

But it was lower than the same quarter the previous year (44,000).

As for redundancy, for the full year in 2013, 11,400 workers were laid off, slightly higher than the 11,010 in 2012.  

A total of 3,500 workers were laid off in the fourth quarter of 2013, higher than the 2,710 workers made redundant in the preceding quarter.

However, the figure was lower than the quarterly figure during the last recession in 2008/09, when 6,000 to 12,800 workers were laid off per quarter.

The "Employment Situation, 2013" report is available at the ministry's website.

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