Statistics Do Lie, Sometimes


LTA and SIM: More train breakdowns but MRT is now more reliable (Apr 2016)

In 2015, there was a total of 14 major MRT train breakdowns, 40% more than 2014’s 10 incidents. For the LRT trains, the number of breakdowns exceeding thirty minutes increased 4-fold to 15 in 2015. The most problematic train system is the Bukit Panjang LRT line, which saw 10 breakdowns in 2015. In summary, there is a train breakdown nearly every 2 weeks in Singapore.

The LTA, under the Transport Ministry, defends itself by claiming that trains are travelling longer between delays, which is how they arrived to the conclusion that train services have become “more reliable”.

Beware contracting out our young graduates’ future (29 mar 2011)

A more recent survey by the five polytechnics showed that “more than 90 per cent of polytechnic graduates were in the workforce as at Oct 1, 2010”. And the Ministry of Manpower’s Report on Labour Force in Singapore, 2010, released in January, showed that the percentage of contract workers dropped from 12.7 per cent in 2009 to 11.5 per cent in 2010.

Dig a little deeper, though, and there’s more reason for concern than the top-line headlines may indicate. The report on polytechnic graduates showed that “among the economically active fresh graduates, 68.5 per cent were in full-time permanent employment” so over 30 per cent had only a contract job or none at all.

MOE’s report also says that permanent employment “includes those on contracts of one year or more”, so some contract jobs are counted as permanent. And the results vary among faculties, with only 75 per cent of arts graduates from the National University of Singapore (NUS), for example, having found a permanent job.

The national recycling rate of 57 per cent in 2009 look impressive (25 May 2010)

The Straits Times reported that Singapore, on the surface, has a good recycling culture: 57% national recycling rate last year. Unfortunately examing the detail statistics reveals that the rates are highest for construction debris… generated from industrial use and recycled by scrap dealers. In terms of common materials being recycled, the recycling rate is highest for paper (48%, probably thanks to the karang guni man who comes around to collect old newspapers every so often) and lowest for plastic (9%, because there are few facilities for collection of plastics for recycling as well as little awareness of plastics recycling). Households and businesses (not including industries) are not doing enough in the recycling effort apparently.

Inflation hits top earners hardest (26 Jul 2011)

“According to figures released by the Department of Statistics (DOS), in the first six months of the year, the consumer price index (CPI) for general households rose 5.0 per cent from last year. However, the top 20 per cent of earners in Singapore felt the higher prices more acutely, facing an inflation rate of 5.6 per cent.

This was due to significant price increases for cars and petrol, which have relatively larger weights for this group.

In contrast, those among the lowest 20 per cent of income earners grappled with an inflation rate of 3.9 per cent, while the middle 60 per cent of income-earners saw inflation of 4.7 per cent.”

The headline screams inflation hits top earners hardest, the fact is property, petrol and cars are consider luxury goods, what is also missing in the report is that the % pay increase of the top 20% are also often the highest while the lowest 20% income group’s salary has been depressed by cheap foreign workers for the past 10 years, in certain professions their salary has actually declined. Thus the impact in real terms are felt much more by the lowest income earners. Statistics do lie, sometimes!

Give a breakdown of the stats (03 Aug 20111)
I refer to the article “Job growth slows” (July 30). The Manpower Ministry aggregates the unemployment rates of Singaporeans and Permanent Residents to provide a figure on the unemployment situation.This does not provide a clear picture of the unemployment rate among citizens. PRs are foreign nationals and many of them, due to long-term work arrangements, convert from employment pass holders to PRs. In this case, many PRs would be employed. (askmelah’s note: so the unemployment is artificially kept low as a result)

It would be better if the team in charge of providing these national statistics give a breakdown for citizens and PRs, followed by an aggregate figure to show the overall economic situation in Singapore. Letter from Adrian Bek

Related links:

  • Academics call for more detailed, regular data sharing (The Straits Times  25 Oct 2011)