Manipulation of Employment Data By PAP
- "The government decided last year to revise the measurement of unemployment to include foreign workers who have temporary work permits, including construction workers living on site and those who
commute to Singapore from Malaysia."
perhaps the maids should be included to boost employment statistics !
Singapore jobless rate falls to five-year low
By John Burton in Singapore
Published: February 1 2006 10:43
Singapore said on Wednesday its unemployment rate last year fell to a provisional 3.2 per cent, the lowest since 2001, although the figure was flattered by a recent change in how the data was
The improving job data and a new government survey saying manufacturers were optimistic about the outlook for the first half of 2006 is expected to increase chances of the government calling a
general election soon.
In the fourth quarter, the unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 2.5 per cent due to a stronger economy and increased hiring in the services sector.
However, the jobless rate among Singapore citizens and permanent residents remained higher at 3.3 per cent in the fourth quarter after peaking at 4.5 per cent in June.
The government decided last year to revise the measurement of unemployment to include foreign workers who have temporary work permits, including construction workers living on site and those who
commute to Singapore from Malaysia.
"The revision has the effect of reducing the overall unemployment rate as...(the) total labour force is now larger, taking into account full coverage of the foreign workforce," said the ministry of
manpower, which compiles the statistics.
Unemployment rates for foreign workers are lower since they normally lose their work permits and can no longer stay in Singapore if they become jobless.
The ministry said the revision was needed to establish a common methodology for government statistical surveys.
The jobless rate is closely watched when there is a growing debate about a widening gap between rich and poor, with elderly unskilled workers having a tougher time finding new jobs as Singapore moves
towards higher-valued manufacturing.
The government also recently revised upward last year's economic growth rate to 6 per cent from 5.7 per cent after it recalculated data, as it does every five years.
Singapore's jobless rate before the 1997-98 Asian crisis was around 2 per cent, but climbed to a peak of 5.2 per cent in 2003 for residents before declining again.
A recent recovery in manufacturing and stronger growth have cut the jobless rate in the last two years. The economy is expected to expand by at least 5 per cent this year, according to private
The number of new jobs increased to 110,000 last year, the strongest increase in nearly five years, due to a growing services sector and a recovery in construction.
The government wants to add service jobs by opening two casino resorts to balance an overall decline in manufacturing jobs.
Singapore's manufacturing sector employs about 18 per cent of the 2.1m workforce, down from a third in 1995, and more retrenchments are expected as companies shift production to China and Malaysia.
Employment in the electronics sector, Singapore's biggest manufacturing industry, is expected to increase slightly this year due to increased global demand, the government said in its latest survey on business confidence among manufacturers.
Singapore's Compliant Press
STATE CONTROL OF THE MEDIA IN SINGAPORE IS SO COMPLETE that few dare
challenge the system and there is no longer much need for the ruling
party to arrest or harass journalists. Even foreign correspondents
have learned to be cautious when reporting on Singapore, since the
government has frequently hauled the international press into court
to face lengthy and expensive libel suits.
The ruling People's Action Party (PAP) controls most local media,
through its close ties with Singapore Press Holdings, whose newspaper
monopoly ended only in 2000, and through state ownership of most
broadcast media. Strict press licensing requirements make it
impossible for independent newspapers to emerge, and journalists have
been taught to think of themselves not as critics but as partners of
the state in "nation-building."
Satellite television dishes are banned for all but a handful of
users, and cable television is a state monopoly. While the Internet
has been censored only half-heartedly, the government has been
aggressive in promoting its own sites to disseminate information
about state policies and procedures.
In response to calls for more diverse media voices in the country, a
handful of new free tabloid newspapers were launched during the year.
These publications, which look but do not read like free alternative
newspapers in the United States, were also controlled by corporations
affiliated with the government.
In an apparent effort to create the illusion of free competition,
Singapore Press Holdings received permission to run TV and radio
stations. This was hardly a risky move for the government, since the
company's chief executive used to head the Singapore internal
security agency, and its board chairman is an ex-cabinet minister and
close confidant of former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew. Meanwhile, the
state-owned broadcasting giant Media Corporation of Singapore, was
awarded a license to publish one of the free newspapers, Today. In
August, The Straits Times, Singapore's leading daily, described this
shuffling of a stacked deck as a "newspaper war."
Previously, public speaking without a license was banned everywhere
in the country. In September, authorities allowed a Hyde Park-style
Speaker's Corner to open in a local park. There seemed to be little
public interest in the handful of eager speakers at the new venue,
Lee Kuan Yew, the architect of what many critics have called
Singapore's "nanny state," remained the object of fawning praise in
local media. In a volume of memoirs published in October, Lee argued
that the authoritarian system he created, which closed independent
newspapers and jailed some journalists after independence in 1959,
was more responsive to the needs of his people than the flawed
democracies in other Asian countries.
"I said I did not accept that a newspaper owner had the right to
print whatever he liked," Lee wrote of a 1971 appearance at the
International Press Institute's annual assembly in Helsinki. "Unlike
Singapore's ministers, he and his journalists were not elected. My
final words to the conference were: 'Freedom of the press, freedom of
the news media, must be subordinated to the overriding needs of
Singapore, and to the primacy of purpose of an elected government.'"
In 2000, this unfortunate view continued to guide Singapore's media