NTUC Asst Sec-Gen Patrick Tay Says Sharp Spikes In Unemployment Figures Expected After GDP Plunge

The Covid-19 measures enforced during Singapore’s ‘Circuit Breaker’ has led to Singapore slipping into a technical recession, with our gross domestic product (GDP) plunging 12.6% in the 2nd quarter (Q2) of this year (Apr-Jun), compared with Q2 of last year.

Worse still, the GDP dropped a massive 41.2% from the 1st quarter (Q1), following a 3.3% drop in the Q1 GDP.

These figures have worried NTUC assistant secretary-general Patrick Tay, who has now warned that more retrenchments may be coming.

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Plunge attributed to ‘Circuit Breaker’

The bad news was revealed in a press release by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) on Tuesday (14 Jul).

It attributed the decline to the ‘Circuit Breaker’ measures and the global economic downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic causing weak external demand.

Here are the full figures released by the MTI based on advance estimates:

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In May, MTI downgraded the GDP growth forecast for this year to -7% to -4%.

NTUC assistant chief worried by GDP results

In a Facebook post on Tuesday (14 Jul), Mr Tay struck a sombre tone, saying the GDP results were “worrying”.

He also said based on these figures, the outlook wasn’t good for Singapore’s economy for the rest of the year.

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Warning over sharp spike in retrenchments

Mr Tay, a People’s Action Party candidate who contested and won Pioneer Single-Member Constituency in the recent general election, also urged workers to brace themselves for “a rough ride ahead”.

He warned that he expected there to be a “sharp spike in retrenchments and unemployment figures”.

Chan Chun Sing says Govt will walk with S’poreans

Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing struck a more reassuring tone, saying the Government would walk this journey with Singaporeans.

Commenting on the results in a Facebook post on the same day, Mr Chan said they were “expected” given the ‘Circuit Breaker’ measures.

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He also said recovery would be “challenging”, and a “slow and uneven journey”, but the Government will provide support to businesses and guidance to help companies and workers adapt.

Disheartening GDP figures

While the poor GDP figures weren’t unexpected, they’re still disheartening to hear.

As they are advance estimates, most of the data taken in was from April and May — exactly corresponding to the ‘Circuit Breaker’ period.

Revised estimates for Q2 will be released in August, and will probably take in results from Phase 1 and 2. We’re hoping they’ll be more optimistic.

Featured images adapted from Facebook and MS News.