SINGAPORE: In its annual report on the Labour Force in Singapore on Wednesday (Jan 31), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said that real median income fell by 2.2 per cent in 2023. Real median income is a median household’s earnings when adjusted for inflation.

Preliminary labour force data published by MOM in late November had said that Singaporean and Permanent Resident workers at the 20th-percentile salary level saw their real incomes fall by 3 per cent year-on-year, while those drawing the median wage saw a 2.3 per cent decrease year-on-year.

Read related: Real median income of Singaporean and PR workers falls 2.3% this year

In 2022, full-time employed residents’ median gross monthly income was S$5,070. While this increased to S$5,197 last year, the 2.5 per cent increase is lower than the annualised average rate of increase of 3.4 per cent from 2013 to 2023, The Business Times reported on Wednesday (Jan 31).

As for wages for workers at the 20th-percentile level, growth was just at 1.7 per cent, climbing to S$2,826 from 2022 to 2023. From 2013 to 2023, it had increased by 4.1 per cent per annum.

See also  Self-proclaimed “middle class” man earning $30K/month says 'I just can't help thinking why I am not rich at all'

In real terms, however, wages at the 20th percentile fell by 3 per cent. When the Workfare Income Supplement and other related payments are accounted for, the decline is only 2 per cent.

MOM, while acknowledging in November that real income growth for 2023 would likely remain negative, said that it expected an improvement in real income growth in 2024 with the easing of inflation.

“Over a longer time horizon from 2013 to 2023, real income growth remained positive and wage dispersion narrowed between the (20th-percentile) worker and the median worker,” MOM added.

Nevertheless, there has been a marked slowdown in the growth of real incomes in recent years. From 2013 to 2017, real incomes increased by 3.5 per cent yearly at the median and 4.2 per cent yearly for workers at the 20th-percentile wage level.

From 2018 to 2023, however, real incomes only grew by 0.5 per cent at the median and 1.1 per cent at the 20th percentile.

See also  Unemployment support for Singaporeans may be part of SG Budget 2023

MOM also released advanced labour market estimates on Jan 31. It showed that while the number of retrenchments declined in Singapore in the last quarter of 2023, they more than doubled overall compared to 2022. There were 14,320 retrenchments in 2023 and only 6,440 the year before. 

The ministry added that this is partly due to the impact of global economic headwinds on the wholesale Trade, IT services, and electronics manufacturing sectors. /TISG

Read also: SG’s real median income fell 4.5% in first half 2023