Photo of Lim Swee Say from Jason Quah Today

In his May Day message announced today (Apr 28), Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say admitted that unemployment is rising and continue to worsen in Singapore. Blaming “structural changes” in general, the minister did not explain further which sector are the hardest hit or any measures the government is taking to address unemployment:

“Unemployment in Singapore has risen and could rise further. Some sectors in the economy are still struggling with structural changes… The challenges confronting the economy, however, are no less daunting than in the past. The unemployment rate for local workers rose to 3 per cent last year, after holding steady at about 2.8 per cent since 2012. It reflects the slowing economy, which grew by about 2 per cent in the past two years, down from the average of 4.5 per cent previously. Our economy is still growing, not shrinking. But the transition this time is less cyclical, and more structural. Some sectors are still under stress and unemployment could rise further. Recovery too will be unlike previous downturns. More time and effort is needed to get through this transition completely.”

Minister Lim Swee Say then advised that businesses should “innovate faster”:

“They need to be better and quicker in adopting technology, innovate faster and raise productivity so that they can compete globally for investments and jobs. Workers also need to cope with disruptions to jobs and learn new skills. There is no shortcut to success. It is never easy for any country to transform its economy and workforce. We have succeeded time and again to emerge stronger. This time, we can and will succeed again.”

The government union NTUC joined in the propaganda message with an illogical message:

“We must disrupt ourselves before others disrupt us.”

There is no explanation on the “disruption” either.