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Economy improving but in transition: PM Lee

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.

"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," Mr Lee said.

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"Our response should be to work hard to keep up our growth. Our economy can no longer grow at 5-7 per cent but we can still achieve 2-3 per cent 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, Mr Lee said.