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Uses and Limitations

Data on Gross Monthly Income From Work are useful in understanding the living standards of workers. The data are used in economic planning and social development.

As the Comprehensive Labour Force Survey covers a representative sample of households in Singapore, the data can be used to study the income trends of employed persons covering both employees and the self-employed.

When analysing how workers’ income has changed over time, it is more meaningful to focus on workers in full-time employment. This will avoid clouding the income trends with the changing mix of full-timers and part-timers among employed persons, as part-time work involves shorter working hours and correspondingly lower income. Moreover, full-timers form the bulk of workers in Singapore. As data are captured from a sample survey, year-on-year income changes are prone to fluctuations and hence should always be interpreted with caution. Income growth studied over longer periods (e.g. 5 or 10 years) smooths out these fluctuations and hence provides a more direct indication of income growth.

Data on the real change in income from work enables users to study the trends in income growth after adjusting for inflation, as changes in the price of consumer goods and services over time affect the purchasing power of individuals. To adjust for inflation, we use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items.