Ministry of Manpower
(MOM) has said that secretary-general of the Singapore Democratic Party, Chee Soon Juan, has “misunderstood” certain labour statistics and “painted an alarmist picture of the job market for Singaporeans”.
The Ministry statement, released on Wednesday (4 May), was in response to Chee’s rally speech on Tuesday (3 May) for the upcoming Bukit Batok by-election.
“In all of last year, the Government created only 100 jobs. Yes, you heard it right, 100 jobs for citizens and permanent residents,” Chee said.
“That means one job per constituency. Voters of Bukit Batok, only one job was created per constituency. How many of you voters here think you are going to fight for that one job if and when you are retrenched?”
In its rebuttal, MOM said that the figure Chee mentioned was not the total number of jobs created for citizens and permanent residents in 2015. Instead, it referred to the difference between the number of locals entering jobs and those leaving. Reasons for leaving could include retirement as well as retrenchment, they added.
While preliminary estimates released by MOM in January found that the net employment of locals increased by 100 in 2015, this was later revised to 700 in the Labour Markets Developments
report released in March.
“This difference, or the ‘net’ number of new jobs taken by locals, was 700 in 2015 and it does not reflect the total number of new jobs for locals,” MOM said.
While the Ministry does not release separate figures to explain the number of locals finding work and the number leaving their jobs, combined figures are provided for local and foreign workers within each industry. Below are the statistics for Singapore’s three major sectors with the net employment growth in parentheses:
- Construction (+8,600)
- Manufacturing (-22,100)
- Services (+36,500)
In its rebuttal to Chee, MOM reiterated that although net local employment has slowed, most Singaporeans are able to find work. They pointed to Singapore’s current employment rate of 80.5% for residents aged between 25 and 64. This is “already relatively high by international standards and cannot grow much further,” they said.
MOM attributed the slowdown in employment to the smaller numbers of young people entering the workforce and growing numbers of Baby Boomers exiting it.
Image: Dr. Chee Soon Juan speaking at a "Night of Solidarity" forum against capital punishment in Singapore by Jacob George / CC-BY-2.0
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