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Singapore’s productivity slips again

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Labour productivity in Singapore dropped 2.6% in 2012, despite an increase in total employment.

Singapore’s labour productivity decreased by 2.5% in the last quarter of last year, continuing a five-quarter decline, Channel News Asia reported.

According to the Economic Survey of Singapore 2012 by the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), the local manufacturing, construction and services sectors experienced negative growth, with only the information and communication sector seeing positive growth.

“There are different issues for each sector. Some are because gestation period takes a long lead time as in construction, others because we need to enhance accessibility of schemes or encourage better uptake of initiatives that agencies are trying to roll out,” Ow Foong Pheng, permanent secretary for Trade and Industry, said.

“We think that as some of the policy changes on the resource side kick in, we will actually see companies really taking up the initiatives.”

MTI directly attributed the drop in productivity to the country’s slower economic growth over the past couple of years.

However, total employment increased by about 129,600 into 2012, and unemployment remained stable at 2%.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore is expecting headline inflation forecasts to remain unchanged at between 3.5% and 4.5%, and core inflation to be between 2% and 3% this year.

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