I Showed the GDP Growth Statistics Were Fake. This Is Why You Shouldn’t Trust the Employment Figures Either!
More fake news on Wednesday from LHL’s personal propaganda arm (paid for with your money to keep him corruptly in office and him and his family drawing certainly millions and possibly hundreds of millions of dollars a year in compensation). The State Times (which bestselling author Paul Theroux memorably described as only fit to use as toilet paper) ran an article on MOM’s latest report on labour market developments that started with:
“Singapore’s labour market continues to remain tight, with a large number of job vacancies still waiting to be filled even though resident employment has already surpassed pre-pandemic levels.
In a further sign that employers are trying to hang on to their workers, retrenchments have fallen to record lows while the unemployment rate has dipped further.”
And went on to say:
“…the market continues to soak up available workers”.
Recently I demonstrated discrepancies in the calculation of GDP growth that suggested the PAP Government was exaggerating the GDP growth rate by using out of date price weights for manufacturing. At constant 2015 prices manufacturing’s share of GDP was more than 2% higher than if current prices were used. The ease with which the size and growth of manufacturing output can be manipulated is undoubtedly a key reason why the Government has been so keen to concentrate on manufacturing. It can then point to the certainly exaggerated and possibly fake growth of the sector as demonstrating the success of its economic strategy and win plaudits from its foreign admirers. This is despite the fact that manufacturing employs relatively few Singaporeans and is largely owned by foreign MNCs induced to make Singapore their Asia Pacific HQ and book a significant share of their revenues here by zero tax rate deals Singapore is merely copying Ireland which saw growth of 25% in 2014 after US companies were persuaded to reincorporate there. Like Ireland, such tax manoeuvres artificially inflate GDP and GDP per capita but have little bearing on the incomes of the inhabitants of the country.
Similarly the Government is deliberately trying to bamboozle Singaporeans over the tightness of the labour market, at least for Singaporean citizens. I ignored the unemployment rate which in Singapore is fairly meaningless. You are only counted as unemployed when the survey is done if you are actively looking for work (responding to job advertisements or going for interviews) in the last two weeks. In Singapore of course NS men are counted as employed even though they are forced to work for (almost) nothing which is the definition of slave labour. Those in full time education are also removed from the unemployment statistics which helps explain why the PAP decided to give Singaporeans money to attend courses of dubious value through initiatives like SkillsFuture. Also Singapore has no unemployment or disability benefits and no minimum wage which means that people who would be counted as unemployed in those countries are forced to take part time jobs or work as delivery riders earning very little. The resident unemployment rate (including permanent residents) was 2.9% in July down from a high of 4.2% in June 2022. However the citizen unemployment rate was higher at 3%. This looks in line with other developed economies like the UK and the US which are both around 3.6%, a record low for the US. It is not exceptional.
However the unemployment rate is calculated by adding together the employed and unemployed and then taking the percentage the unemployed form of the total. It fails to capture those who have given up looking for work. A better clue to the tightness of the labour market is to took at the labour force participation rate which measures the percentage of the population over 15 who are in work. MOM reports a participation rate of over 70% in June 2022. On first glance this might look good compared to a participation rate of 62% in the US , 63% in Japan or 65% in South Korea but it looks poor compared to 84% in Switzerland (remember Goh’s promises of a Swiss standard of living?), 79% in Germany or 78% in the UK.
However remember that this is measuring the participation rate for the total workforce, not for the resident one, let alone for SIngapore citizens, whose welfare the PAP Government should be primarily concerned with. Making the assumption that the participation rate close to 100% for the non-resident workforce (I assumed 99%) because non-resident workers will be sent home unless they find another job very quickly. This is particularly true for those on Work or S-Passes but also for Employment Pass holders whose job is tied to their employer (though LHL has announced plans to change that and make it easy for them to stay in SIngapore even without a job).
I did a quick calculation using those assumptions and worked out that the participation rate for the resident workforce is around 62% . If we assume that the participation rate for PRs is higher than for citizens as they are more likely to be in work having acquired PR status by virtue of their employment, let us say 80% then this reduces the participation rate for citizens to about 53%. I have assumed that the share of PRs in the workforce is the same as their share in the resident population (about 12%) but this is unlikely to be the case since people granted PR will probably have fewer dependents than citizens. If we up the share of PRs in the resident workforce to 15% (a conservative assumption) then this reduces the citizen participation rate to only 51%.
This is staggering because it means that nearly half of Singaporeans aged 15 and over are not working and not even looking for work, presumably because they are discouraged by the lack of vacancies at wage levels that they are willing to work for?If I deduct 71,000 as an estimate of the number of Singaporean men in NS, then the participation rate falls to 50%. Many of the Singaporeans who are not working will be in full time education or perpetually on courses (subsidised by the SkillsFuture grants). However a large number of these would probably rather have a job but are convinced by the PAP’s gaslighting of the need to constantly retrain and that the lack of a job is their fault not the Government’s. A 50% participation rate for citizens puts us below countries like South Africa and Turkey. The fact that so many Singaporean citizens have left the job market in despair or are forced to become accords with the anecdotal evidence of people so desperate for jobs that they fall easy prey to scams.
So do not be fooled by the PAP and LHL’s gaslighting of you into believing that there are plenty of jobs available for Singaporeans and that it is your fault that you cannot find one. They want to push you into a continual retraining mode so that you can be removed from the unemployment statistics. But the participation rate does not lie and it shows that the Government is totally failing its duty to you the citizens. They have created an economy and a job market that only works for low paid workers from other much poorer Asian countries at one end and for highly paid and enormously privileged FTs at the other end. When LHL talks about Singapore having to remain open for global talent ask him why he has failed so abysmally to provide jobs for Singaporeans. When he calls for unity be united in getting rid of a useless pack of mediocre autocrats who continually lie and provide fake statistics to pretend that they have powered Singapore to exceptional economic performance and using this to justify lining their own pockets year after year with salaries out of state funds so huge that they have made it a state secret to prevent you finding out.