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Singapore Economy Picking Up

Businesses are turning over and restructuring  to adapt to changing conditions.Businesses are turning over and restructuring  to adapt to changing conditions.

The global economy as well as Singapore faces an improving but mixed outlook, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in his 2017 May Day message. Even while an upswing is happening in America, Europe, Japan and emerging economies, prospects for international trade are uncertain, he said.

And while Singapore’s economy is picking up, unemployment is also rising along with retrenchments, CNA reported.

“The mixed picture shows an economy in transition. Businesses are turning over and restructuring to adapt to changing conditions. Some existing jobs are being lost, even while we are creating more new jobs,” Lee said.

“Our response should be to work hard to keep up our growth. Our economy can no longer grow at 5-7% but we can still achieve 2-3% growth by improving our productivity.”

Singapore also needs to work harder at helping workers stay employed and find new jobs should they be retrenched, he said. The collective effort has to be tripartite—among unions, employers and the government.

Businesses must be willing to transform, adopt new technologies, and expand overseas. Workers have to upgrade themselves and change careers when necessary.

And the government will take the lead and give full support to both employers and workers, Lee said.

He also cited how when G20 finance ministers met recently, they could not renew their standard pledge to keep global trade free and open as the US objected.

“We will have to watch how other countries react to this US stance. If they too adopt win-lose approaches to trade, the result will be more protectionism, which will hurt everybody,” he said.

Lee’s message comes as the Ministry of Manpower said on Friday that unemployment rose to 2.3% in March this year, up from 2.2% in December.

“As the economy matures, I expect that to creep up,” Lee said of the unemployment rate, noting that other developed countries have unemployment rates of 5% or higher.

In his message, Lee said businesses are turning over and restructuring to adapt to changing conditions. “Some existing jobs are being lost, even while we are creating more new jobs,” he said.

“We must also work harder to help workers stay employed and find replacement jobs if they become unemployed,” he added.

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