Income levels fell this year for Singapore residents because of the Covid-19 pandemic, while the employment level dropped to a six-year low in June before rebounding after the circuit breaker period.
The nominal median income for residents - that is, Singaporeans and permanent residents - dipped by 0.6 per cent to $4,534 over the year to June, down from $4,563 last year, according to advance annual estimates released by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Thursday.
After taking inflation into account, real median income fell by 0.3 per cent, a reversal from the 2.2 per cent growth in the previous year.
The income data is for people in full-time employment and excludes employer contributions to the Central Provident Fund.
Real income at the 20th percentile dropped by 4.5 per cent not including government payouts, which the ministry said is due to industries more adversely affected by the pandemic having a high concentration of lower-income earners.
The incomes of lower-income self-employed workers such as taxi or private-hire car drivers and hawkers were also impacted by the plunge in tourist arrivals, work-from-home arrangements, and temporary suspension of dine-in services at food and beverage outlets during the two-month circuit breaker period from April to June, the report said.
The MOM also noted that, after adding government payouts to lower-income earners, such as the Workfare Income Supplement and the one-off Workfare Special Payment this year, the income level at the 20th percentile this year is similar to the level last year.
Over the five years from 2015 to 2020, the income growth of full-timers at the 20th percentile (2.9 per cent per year) remained slightly higher than at the median (2.7 per cent per year).
The MOM's annual report is based on data collected in June. A separate report released in October with preliminary data for the labour market situation in the third quarter showed that resident employment rebounded and the pace of increase in unemployment rates has slowed.
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo also noted in a press conference on Thursday that the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the non-resident workforce in Singapore was greater, which is not captured in Thursday's report.
The Straits Times