The Ministry of Manpower published its latest employment report yesterday (Nov 30) and the government-controlled state media yet again posted a rosy summary of higher employment rate and higher real wages for people who do not bother to read the actual report. Here are 7 reasons why the MOM report is actually pretty useless:

1. NSFs included in employment figure, excluded in Median Wages calculation 

Members of the Singapore Armed Force including full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) are included in the persons employed, and this is done so to paint a better picture for the employment figure (2%).

However in the calculation of Median Wages, NSFs are then conveniently excluded to bump up the Median Wages. The same trick is done under the wage change category so as to reflect a higher increase in wages.

2. No result of GINI coefficients and Income Gap
The MOM Employment report did not cover the worrying trend of rising income gap in Singapore. Poverty in Singapore continue to be acute as 20% of the population earns less than S$1,800 excluding CPF.

The income of top 20 percentile was covered up.

3. Sharp spike in elderly workers to 34% from 24%, no income stats given
In the past 9 years, 12% more elderly Singaporeans aged 50 and above are working. However the biggest problem is how much are our elderly workers getting, which could not be found anywhere.

The likelihood of elderly worker earning lesser is higher because under the part-timer statistics, there was a 0.5% increase for those aged 50 and over.

4. Sharp increase in Part-timers, lowest wage growth for part-timers
The number of part-timers increased from 220,200 in 2014 to 223,100 a year later, and the median wages for part-timers increased by only 17.5% cumulative in Nominal term over 9 years (factoring for yearly inflation may reveal a negative wage growth).

There is no statistics for wage growth of part-timers.

5. No statistics for underemployment, MOM used “time-related” definition for underemployment
There is no statistics captured for underemployment and the Ministry used a “time-related” definition instead. “Time-related” underemployment means part-time workers who seek more than 35 hours of work, that should have made them a full-time worker.

6. Higher education equal better job opportunities and higher chances of employment
Those who have taken Lee Hsien Loong’s advice that a degree is not important are likely to lose out in job opportunities as the report revealed the largest increase in employment rate for the better-educated.

7. No age, race, sex and nationality breakdown for Median Income
Statistics for age, race and sex breakdown for median income is vital to measuring a society’s well-being and the severity of discrimination in ageism, racism and sexism.

You may download the MOM Employment report here.