Real income growth to remain negative for the rest of 2023

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released its preliminary findings, revealing a concerning 2.3% decrease in real median income for Singaporean residents in 2023.

This dip was largely attributed to the impact of high inflation on nominal wage growth, according to the Labor Force in Singapore report.

When factoring in inflation, workers at the 20th percentile experienced a steeper decline of 3% in real wages year on year. However, after accounting for government transfers like the Workfare Income Supplement and other related payments, the decrease narrowed to 2.1%.

Despite the recent setback, the report highlighted a positive growth trajectory in real income over the past decade, showcasing an annual rise of 2% for real median incomes and a 2.6% increase for real incomes at the 20th percentile between 2013 and 2023.

These insights are from MOM’s mid-year Comprehensive Labour Force Survey, including data for June and focusing on Singaporeans and permanent residents. This comprehensive study covered nuanced labour indicators not typically covered in the ministry’s routine quarterly labour market reports.

MOM anticipates the persistence of negative real income growth throughout the remainder of the year. However, an optimistic outlook for 2024 emerges, with expectations of an alleviation in inflation, potentially steering income growth back on a positive trajectory.

he extent of this anticipated improvement hinges on several critical factors, including the labour market’s tightness and the pace of economic deceleration, said Ang Boon Heng, MOM’s director for manpower research and statistics.

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