Sunday, September 20, 2009

Confusion on the Statistics About New Citizens, Employments, and Flats

I was reading the various transcripts by the political leaders about new immigrants, employments and housing. Quite frankly the statistics do not add up properly to tell a convincing story.

Firstly, from PM Lee's speech on 15th 2009 we have the following paragraphs (extracted from PMO website) that 7,000 more jobs were created for Singaporeans, i.e. employment from the 1st half of 2009:
When the economy turns down, the foreign workers provide us a buffer. This year has been a very bad year. Everybody knows the economy has shrunk. We have not a bad year like this for a very long time. But in the first half of this year, not many of you would know in fact the number of Singaporeans working has gone up. Local employment actually increased, not much - 7,000 more jobs - but in this environment to have more Singaporeans at work is amazing. And why did it happen? Because the impact was absorbed by the foreign workers and the shrinkage in the workforce was taken up by the foreign workers. We have 20-odd thousand foreign workers (net) who lost their jobs and they buffered us from the impact. Therefore, I think that the foreign workers do a good job in Singapore, for Singaporeans.
During the same few days in Sep 2009 we have another news release, also from PMO website that 20,513 people took up Singapore citizenship in 2008:
Last year, 79,167 foreigners became PRs and 20,513 took up citizenship - more than the 63,627 PRs and 17,334 new citizens in 2007.
Thus if we make the assumption that majority of the new citizens should be working personnel, i.e. gainfully employed in one way or another, that means the so called '7,000' employments for Singaporeans are largely due to those working PRs who became Singaporeans? If the rates (20,513 and 17,334) are indicative for this year's statistics, that means half of the year would amount to 8,600 to 10,000 Singaporeans 'employed' as a result of them converting to Singaporeans? Hmm wouldn't that be more than the 7,000 mentioned in PM's speech? Thus, discounting these new immigrants, the pool of working Singaporeans actually decreased isn't it?

Another point about the confusing statistics is the housing data. We have largely heard that HDB will build enough flats to manage demand. What is interesting in that piece of news is that about 8,000 new flats will be rolled out. From the earlier PMO news release, we know that we have 79,167 new PRs and 20,513 new citizens that adds to a total of 99,000 plus people needing a palce to stay. If we add in the new marriages, the number of people needing housing will surpass 100,000.

8,000 new flats and more than 100,000 people needing housing. So that simply means people who need a palce to stay will need to consider private property. I seriously have doubts that private property will be within reach of many new PRs or newly wed couples. So I guess that explains why the HDB resale, as well as private property, have been experiencing a rising price phenomenom in this weak economic situation (i.e. 2008 and early 2009).

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