Worst yet to come for Singapore as more layoffs expected

The economic outlook remains uncertain and Singapore has yet to feel the full economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts said.
By: | September 9, 2020

The substantial government support in Singapore may only provide a temporary stop-gap measure as thousands of jobs could be lost in the next six months, labour experts said.

Measures such as the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) which helps offset part of the wages of local workers have managed to shelter workers from the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic so far.

READ: More than 5,000 Singaporeans retrenched in first half of 2020

But the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has warned the population that the economic outlook remains uncertain and the country may not have felt the full impact yet in the first half of the year.

“We are now starting to see the deeper impact of COVID-19 on the labour market,” MOM said.

National University of Singapore senior economics lecturer Kelvin Seah echoed MOM’s views, and was quoted as saying on AsiaOne, “Nobody knows how long (the pandemic) will last. There is too much uncertainty. It will depend on whether countries are able to contain the virus effectively.”

Seah also said that layoffs might take some time to happen after businesses see a fall in their profits.

“Although businesses might be losing money, they may still try to retain workers,” he added.

“If profits continue to fall for a sustained period, then companies have little choice but to lay off workers. Some of these businesses may not even survive themselves.”