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Unemployment could rise further as Singapore faces structural changes: Lim Swee Say

Friday, April 28, 2017 - 10:36

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Unemployment in Singapore could rise further in Singapore as some sectors remained under stress, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said on Friday in a May Day message.

UNEMPLOYMENT in Singapore could rise further in Singapore as some sectors remained under stress, Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said on Friday in a May Day message.

Singapore's economy is in transition, Mr Lim said. With gross domestic product (GDP) growth at about 2 per cent in the past two years, Singapore's economy is still growing, not shrinking. The rise in unemployment is more gradual and remains below the previous peaks of more than 5 per cent during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, and more than 4 per cent during the Global Financial Crisis.

"Even so, the challenges we face today are no less daunting. The transition this time is less cyclical, but more structural. Some sectors are still under stress and unemployment could rise further."

Unlike previous recoveries, more time and effort will be needed to get through the transition period completely.

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"To emerge with a future economy and workforce that is different and leaner, we need to strive for better and faster adoption of technology, faster pace of innovation and higher productivity, so that we can compete globally for not just good investments and markets, but also good jobs and careers. There is no shortcut to success," the minister said.

In a separate May Day message, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said that cyclical and structural forces would continue to impact different sectors unevenly.

"To stay ahead, our working people must continually deep-skill, reskill and upskill. Similarly, the Labour Movement must continuously evolve to stay relevant to anticipate our new economy's needs and working people's aspirations,'' NTUC's President Mary Liew and Secretary-General Chan Chun Sing said.

Robert Yap, President of the Singapore National Employers Federation, said in his May Day message that labour management cooperation would be key in sustaining productivity gains.

"This will require mutual trust, responding quickly to growth opportunities, tackling challenges together and good communication."

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