PSP member stands by unemployment figure after MOM correction
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has corrected a figure cited by the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) representative in a televised live debate on Wednesday.
Mr Francis Yuen had said during the programme, Singapore Votes 2020 - The Political Debate, that Singapore has 100,000 local professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) who are jobless.
This is incorrect, MOM said.
As of June last year, there were 39,000 local unemployed PMETs, it pointed out, fewer than half of the 100,000 cited by Mr Yuen.
It added that the figure is from the Report on Labour Force in Singapore 2019, released on Jan 30 this year.
This year's figures will be released in the report early next year, as the survey is conducted annually, it said.
But Mr Yuen, 70, who is leading PSP's four-member team in Chua Chu Kang GRC against People's Action Party (PAP) rivals led by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, said the MOM's figures are outdated.
"The June 2019 figures do not include retrenchments in the third and fourth quarter of last year and the expected numbers in 2020, he said in response to queries in The Straits Times.
"MOM in the same report also said that 70 per cent of retrenchments in 2019 are (that of) PMETs. Given job losses in 2020 are expected to be 100,000 to 200,000, and estimating that 70 per cent of these will be (those of) PMETs, we estimate 100,000 unemployed PMETs," added Mr Yuen, who was industrial conglomerate Hong Leong Asia's chief executive and a former Republic of Singapore Air Force colonel.
He said that in citing the 100,000 figure, the party also took into consideration the "large proportion who will not find jobs" among the more than 30,000 new graduates entering the job market this year, as well as PMETs displaced into the gig economy who are unaccounted for in unemployment figures.