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  • Demand and Supply of Labor: General x
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Mariya Brussevich, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, and Salma Khalid
Lockdowns imposed around the world to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic are having a differential impact on economic activity and jobs. This paper presents a new index of the feasibility to work from home to investigate what types of jobs are most at risk. We estimate that over 97.3 million workers, equivalent to about 15 percent of the workforce, are at high risk of layoffs and furlough across the 35 advanced and emerging countries in our sample. Workers least likely to work remotely tend to be young, without a college education, working for non-standard contracts, employed in smaller firms, and those at the bottom of the earnings distribution, suggesting that the pandemic could exacerbate inequality. Crosscountry heterogeneity in the ability to work remotely reflects differential access to and use of technology, sectoral mix, and labor market selection. Policies should account for demographic and distributional considerations both during the crisis and in its aftermath.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Singapore’s economy is on a strong cyclical upswing. Economic growth has recovered to a three-year high, led by externally-oriented sectors that benefitted from the synchronized global expansion. Economic momentum is becoming more broad-based, helping to reduce the labor market slack. Growth is expected at or above the potential rate in the near term, increasingly supported by domestic demand. Inflation is subdued but expected to rise modestly. The current account surplus, as a share of GDP, has remained large. Risks to the near-term outlook are broadly balanced and come mainly from external sources. Over the medium term, the structural transformation aimed to prepare Singapore for challenges from technological changes globally and population aging at home should help support higher productivity.
Mr. Si Guo
The paper assesses the price and wage flexibility in Hong Kong SAR. At the aggregate level, it compares Hong Kong SAR with the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore by examining the three commonly used macroeconomic relationships among inflation, unemployment, wage growth, and output fluctuations. At the industry level, the paper compares the distributions of labor earnings and price growth in Hong Kong SAR and the United States. It further estimates a model of wage formation under downward nominal wage rigidity to compare the extent of wage rigidity in Hong Kong SAR and the United States. Overall, the comparisons show that broadly speaking, price and wage adjustments are more flexible in Hong Kong SAR than other economies.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the various transmission channels of the Syrian crisis—though quantification is hampered by the lack of reliable data—with focus on the impact on fiscal performance and labor markets; it also takes stock of international donor efforts to date. The paper also provides overviews of main effects on Lebanon’s economy, the expenditure pressures associated with the refugee presence, the impact on poverty and inequality, and the added strains on labor markets. A section of the paper describes the response by the international community to help Lebanon cope with the Syrian crisis. Absent additional international support, the needs of both refugees and affected Lebanese communities will not be met. Sound government policies—including implementation of a concerted policy framework to deal with refugee issues and a commitment to fiscal discipline—will send credible signals to donors and help mobilize budget support. Tackling the unprecedented refugee crisis requires strong international support. There has been a large international humanitarian response, but much more is needed.
International Monetary Fund

Singapore’s large financial sector has remained resilient. The output has shown to rebound strongly despite a drop of 9 percent in GDP during 2008-early 2009. The new challenges include consumer price inflation, income inequality, and rising housing prices. The downside risks for the Singapore economy are large, but the country has large buffers and significant policy room to dampen the immediate and longer-term effects of a sharp global slowdown. The authorities have ample policy space and instruments to address the negative impact of economic shocks.

International Monetary Fund
Singapore’s large financial sector has remained resilient. The output has shown to rebound strongly despite a drop of 9 percent in GDP during 2008-early 2009. The new challenges include consumer price inflation, income inequality, and rising housing prices. The downside risks for the Singapore economy are large, but the country has large buffers and significant policy room to dampen the immediate and longer-term effects of a sharp global slowdown. The authorities have ample policy space and instruments to address the negative impact of economic shocks.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper analyzes Portugal’s export performance in 2006 and assesses whether it might augur a sustained recovery. The paper examines the factors underlying the recent export rebound, and searches for signs of fundamental changes in structures of the export industries during the last decade. It highlights the importance of labor market flexibility. Using a four-country version of the IMF Global Economic Model, the paper attempts to illustrate the benefits of labor market reform to help close the competitiveness gap.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper examines the behavior of savings and investment from an Asian and Singaporean perspective. It builds and estimates two econometric models that relate savings and investment to a range of macroeconomic and structural variables. The paper examines the relationship between labor market developments and private consumption behavior, and notes that employment uncertainty did have a significant negative impact on consumption and raised precautionary savings. It also examines quantitative, industry-level measures of the intensity of domestic competition in the manufacturing and services sectors during the past two decades in Singapore.
International Monetary Fund

This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that Singapore’s economy has recovered rapidly since mid-2003, having weathered a series of adverse shocks since the Asian crisis. This turnaround owes much to a favorable external environment, supportive macroeconomic policies, and continued structural reforms. Although growth moderated in 2005, the strength of economic activity has been on the upside. Much of the stronger activity reflects higher-than-expected external demand for pharmaceuticals and oil exploration equipment. With stronger-than-expected economic activity, the fiscal outturn for FY2005/06 is likely to be better than budgeted.

International Monetary Fund

This 2004 Article IV Consultation highlights that in recent years, Singapore’s economy has been hit hard by a series of external shocks. These shocks—the Asian crisis, the bursting of the technology bubble, and the SARS outbreak in 2003—disrupted an economic expansion largely uninterrupted since the 1970s. The shocks have come at a time when Singapore is also facing increasing competition from regional low-cost economies. Looking ahead, economic activity is expected to moderate to more sustainable levels in the near term.