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Ministry of Manpower data: Local workers earning more

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Median income rises as more younger and older people find employment this year

Local workers are earning more, with the median income for those working full-time rising to $4,437 in June this year.

This is up 4.8 per cent from the median gross monthly income of $4,232 a year earlier and includes employer contributions to the Central Provident Fund.

The latest data from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Singaporeans and permanent residents also shows that a greater share of younger and older people were employed this year, with the labour market improving as economic growth picked up.

The unemployment rates for resident workers also dipped slightly as of June this year, compared with June last year.

These improvements are in line with good economic growth, said the MOM yesterday. Singapore's economy is expected to grow by 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent this year.

Workers saw incomes grow faster in the last five years than in the previous five-year period.

The real median gross monthly income of residents in full-time jobs grew by an average of 3.5 per cent per year from 2013 to 2018, taking preliminary inflation figures into account for this year. It grew by an average of 1.9 per cent per year from 2008 to 2013.

Lower-wage workers had their gross monthly incomes rise at a faster pace than those at the median. Over the past five years, income at the 20th percentile for residents in full-time jobs rose by an average of 4.2 per cent per year, to $2,340 in 2018.

But economists said the strong wage growth this year may not continue into next year as economic growth is expected to moderate.

"With a trade war I wouldn't be surprised if there are companies in finance or trade-related sectors that have to start cutting headcount," said Maybank Kim Eng senior economist Chua Hak Bin.

Meanwhile, the employment rate this year for residents aged 15 to 24 rose as more young people took on paid internships or vacation jobs. The rate for those aged 65 and over rose to 26.8 per cent, up from 25.8 per cent, due to efforts to improve the employability of older workers, said the ministry.

But for those aged between 25 and 64 years, the employment rate fell from 80.7 per cent to 80.3 per cent as more women in their 30s left the workforce to care for their families.

Unemployment improved. For professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs), the unemployment rate was 2.9 per cent in June, compared with 3 per cent a year earlier. For non-PMETs, the rate was 4 per cent, down from 4.5 per cent.

PMETs make up 57 per cent of the resident workforce.

However, more unemployed PMETs in their 30s and those aged 50 and up took a longer time to find work. This raised the long-term unemployment rate for PMETs - those jobless and looking for work for at least 25 weeks - to 0.8 per cent this year, up from 0.7 per cent last year.

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Employment