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Wednesday, 25 February 2009

99,000 jobs may go (Singapore)

Feb 25, 2009, The Straits Times Breaking News
Job losses in Singapore
99,000 jobs may go

SINGAPROE may lose 99,000 jobs amid the nation's worst economic slump, pushing the jobless rate to 5 per cent by mid-2010, said DBS Bank in a report on Wednesday. DBS also said the economy may contract 4.8 per cent this year, down from its earlier forecast of 3.3 per cent.

'Singapore is likely to experience its worst ever growth this year with a GDP contraction of 4.8 per cent. Labour markets are expected to deteriorate further, it said.

'The unemployment rate will likely hit 5 per cent with cumulative job losses expected to reach 99,000 by 2010. Policy measures that have been put forth so far will help to cushion the blows but the worst of the labour market cycle is yet to come.'

The Singapore economy shrank by 3.7 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to a year ago. Singapore's non-oil domestic exports plunged by 17.7 per cent in the same quarter, down significantly from an average negatove 4.2 per cent for the first three quarters of last year.

Most recent NODX growth in January plummeted by 34.8 per cent - the sharpest single month decline ever and a clear reflection of the collapse in global demand

'On account of the sharp collapse in global demand and export sales, we have recently lowered our growth for 2009 to - 4.8 per cent, down from an already low forecast of - 3.3 per cent,' said the DBS report. 'This marks the worst recession in Singapore's history, surpassing the previous low of -3.8 per cent registered prior its independence in 1964.

'With growth this weak, labour market conditions are expected to deteriorate further. The unemployment rate will creep higher as job losses mount.'

Singapore's unemployment rate has risen in the previous two quarters as the labour market continued to feel the heat of the global recession.

About 73,100 Singapore residents were jobless in December last year, an increase of about 58 per cent over a year ago. Job growth also slowed significantly, with just 26,900 jobs created in the fourth quarter, which is less than half the total gain of 55,700 in the previous quarter.

'Against the backdrop of the dire economic conditions, this is probably just the initial stage of a protracted down-cycle in the employment market. Job losses and unemployment rate will continue to rise as companies struggle to cope with the impact of the global downturn,' said DBS.

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