All statistics collected, compiled and published by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower, are governed by the Statistics Act (Chapter 317).
The data on unemployment, together with other key labour market statistics, are disseminated by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department of the Ministry of Manpower as a service to the public, with the aim of facilitating an efficient labour market.
Under the terms of the Statistics Act, the Manpower Research and Statistics Department cannot publish, or otherwise make available to any individual or organization, statistics that would enable the identification of data for any individual person or entity without prior consent.
Unemployed persons are those aged 15 years and over who were not working but were actively looking for a job and available for work during the reference period. They include persons who were not working but had taken steps to start their own business, or had made arrangements to start a new job at a date after the reference period.
Unemployment rate is the percentage of unemployed persons aged 15 years and over to the labour force.
International standards: The concepts and definitions of unemployment follow the ILO recommendation closely.
Branch of economic activity (industry): "Industry" for an unemployed person refers to the major kind of activity undertaken by the establishment, enterprise, firm or organization in which the person worked previously during his/her last job. It is related to the principal class of goods produced or services rendered by the organization.
Occupation: "Occupation" for an unemployed person refers to the type of work performed by a person during his/her last employment. It might not necessarily be related to his/her training skill or professional qualification.
Education: "Educational attainment" for an unemployed person refers to the highest level or standard which that person has passed or attained either through attendance at an institution of learning or through correspondence or self-study. All unemployed persons aged 15 years and over are classified by the highest qualification attained.
Geographical coverage: The survey covers the population living in private households in Singapore.
Population coverage:The survey covers the population of all age groups living in private households. It also includes members of the Armed Forces. Estimates of the total labour force are derived by combining data on residents obtained from the survey with foreign employment data compiled from administrative records.
Topical coverage:Topics covered by the June survey on unemployment include: sex; age; marital status; educational attainment; duration of unemployment; action taken to look for work; working experience; previous occupation; previous industry; and reason for leaving previous job.
For the March, September and December surveys, only the basic characteristics of unemployed persons are captured.
Branch of economic activity (industry): The classification of industries is based on the Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC), 2015. This classification only applies to unemployed persons who had worked previously, based on the industry where they last worked. The Singapore Standard Industrial Classification (SSIC), 2015 adopts the basic framework of the ISIC (International Standard Industrial Classification), Rev. 4, at the major section (1-digit) level.
Occupation: The classification of occupation is based on the Singapore Standard Occupational Classification (SSOC), 2015. Data are coded to 10 major groups. This classification only applies to unemployed persons who had worked previously, based on the last job held. The SSOC 2015 classification is comparable to the ISCO (International Standard Occupational Classification)-2008 at the major group (1-digit) level.
Education: All unemployed persons aged 15 years and over are classified by the highest qualification attained. The classification of education is based on the Singapore Standard Educational Classification (SSEC). The classification of level of educational qualification attained comprises six broad groups: (1) Primary & Below; (2) Lower Secondary; (3) Secondary;(4) Post-Secondary (Non-Tertiary);(5) Diploma And Professional Qualification; and (6) Degree.
Reference period: The reference period for employment is the week preceding the date of the interview. The reference period for job search is the four weeks before survey week and the reference period for availability is the next two weeks.
The data refer to the last month of each quarter, that is, March, June, September, and December.
Data source: The statistics on unemployment are obtained from the sample survey of private households conducted by the Manpower Research and Statistics Department, Ministry of Manpower. As the survey covers private households in Singapore, it excludes workers living in construction worksites, dormitories and workers’ quarter at the workplace and persons commuting from abroad to work in Singapore. Estimates of the total labour force are derived by combining data on residents obtained from the survey with foreign employment data compiled from administrative records.
Sample size and design: The sample selection is based on a stratified design with proportional allocation. Dwelling units in the sampling frame were divided into different groups (or strata). The groups are defined based on the planning areas demarcated by geographical boundaries and broad dwelling type groups. A random sample was then selected proportionately from the different groups by systematic sampling with a random start. The samples selected from each group were combined to form the required sample.
Sample frame: The Singapore Department of Statistics maintains a sampling frame of residential dwellings in Singapore for the selection of samples for household surveys.
The majority of the households completed the survey through telephone or internet. Households that did not respond through these options were enumerated through face-to-face interviews. All the information captured were keyed into the secured Integrated Manpower Survey System (iMSS). The use of automatic routing in the iMSS ensured that all relevant questions were answered. The system also has an auto-error checking function to prompt interviewers of missing, invalid or inconsistent entries so that clarifications could be conducted. The information collected was subjected to further editing checks by field supervisors and iMSS administrators.
The work of the interviewers was closely monitored to ensure the quality of the data collected. Supervisors conducted checks by calling up selected households to verify the information collected. The data were subjected to consistency and verification checks before tabulation.
Data sources (history): The Manpower Research and Statistics Department of the Ministry of Manpower has been conducting the comprehensive mid-year Labour Force Survey on an annual basis from 1974 to 2016, except during the years when Census of Population and General Household Survey (i.e. years ending in '0' and '5') are conducted. In 2010, it was conducted on a sub-sample of the Census of Population 2010. The 2015 survey was conducted as part of the 2015 Comprehensive Household Survey which also incorporated the General Household Survey (conducted every ten years in the years between the Censuses of Population). Smaller scale Labour Force Surveys are also conducted in March, September and December to obtain estimates of the unemployment.
Estimators for unemployment: Sample data of unemployment are grossed up to the population by multiple estimation factors. These factors were derived from the ratio of the total population estimate to the number of persons enumerated in the survey by sex and residential status as at end of March, June, September and December to the number of persons enumerated in the survey.
Seasonal adjustments: Data on unemployed persons and unemployment rate were seasonally adjusted to remove seasonality. The X12 ARIMA software is used to perform the seasonal adjustment.
The annual Report on Labour Force in Singapore publishes: (1) annual data for the reference year showing the unemployment profile broken down by sex, age, marital status, education and duration of unemployment; and (2) annual time series data for the last 10 years.
The Singapore Yearbook of Manpower Statistics publishes the following: (1) annual average data for the current and previous 10 years on the age, sex and education profile of unemployed persons and unemployment rates; and (2) quarterly unemployment rates for the current and previous 10 years (both seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted).
The data are considered to be preliminary when first released. The data are subsequently revised to reflect updated population controls. These revised data are published not later than the middle of the third month after the reference quarter through the quarterly Labour Market Report and posting on the Ministry of Manpower's website (http://stats.mom.gov.sg).
At the end of each calendar year, the seasonal adjustment factor of the unemployment series is updated to incorporate the experience of that year. Seasonally adjusted data for the previous 5 years are subject to revision.
The quarterly report on Labour Market Advance Releasein XX XX [Quarter, Year] is available to the media and general public, free of charge, from the Ministry of Manpower website (http://stats.mom.gov.sg).
The quarterly Labour Market Report publishes data for the reference quarter on the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons by sex, age group and education. It also provides an analysis of the unemployment situation.
The data are released simultaneously to all interested parties by releasing a report on Labour Market Advance Releasein XX XX [Quarter,Year] and posting on the Ministry of Manpower's website (http://stats.mom.gov.sg).
A comprehensive description of methodology and coverage is published in the annual Report on Labour Force in Singapore.
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