On the brink of recession, the small, trade-dependent country of Singapore is on track to log its slowest growth rate since 2009. Government analysts expect this year’s growth rate to be between 1 and 2 percent. This grinding halt in economic growth caused the shutdown of an estimated 42,000 businesses in the first six months of 2016. In comparison, 2015 saw the shutdown of only 49,000 businesses.
The contributing factors to this economic disaster have been intensely studied. An extreme drop in oil prices since 2014 has resulted in thousands of layoffs in the oil and gas industry. The labor market is seeing the worst of it and has been greatly impacted. In this year’s third quarter, total employment has fallen for the second time since the 2009 global financial crisis.
Although many view Singapore’s slow economic growth negatively, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong stated at a conference in September: "Growth has slowed, yes. In a way, this is a new normal ... It's not a crisis; there are still bright spots in the economy, and what we need to do is we need to work hard in order to grow, in order to upgrade ourselves…”
While speaking of the country’s future, Prime Minister Lee related Singapore’s economic regression to the downturn of global trade and the oil market regression. He believes that local economy will fully recover once global demand recovers. Lee expressed a hope for a 2 to 3 percent growth moving forward.