What to Expect in 2022:
The year ahead will be critical for Singapore's future as a global financial center. While the country operated relatively well in crisis mode during the earliest days of the pandemic, its effort to "live with Covid" has been progressing in fits and starts. The main challenge will be restarting some semblance of normal travel, a critical economic lifeline and a pressure valve for an increasingly restless population. Like many rich, developed countries, it's also reckoning with its reliance on foreign workers as businesses face labor shortages and the population ages.
From the Year Behind Us:
Singapore's Covid Response Overlooked a Major Factor: Fear: Treating the coronavirus as endemic will require Singapore to think beyond the numbers. The government acknowledges the frustrations of its citizens and businesses, yet far too often this is seen as a necessary sacrifice toward a larger goal. "Living with Covid," by definition, means those priorities need to be reversed: Day-to-day life must come first.
The Half-Million People Left Behind by Singapore's Travel Lanes: Singapore has more than half a million domestic and migrant workers, and many haven't seen their families in years. While the government has taken steps to ease restrictions for much of the population, travel is still difficult for the laborers who repair roads, build subway stations, staff shipyards, care for the elderly, and ensure children are fed.
Singapore's Tiger Parents Won't Stop for Covid: While schools and activities have opened up, restrictions on chaperones remain. That's left a black hole of information between what children tell us and what teachers, coaches and instructors say. The best solution may not be more communication, but a different playbook entirely.
Let the Market Fix Labor Shortages: American companies say they're struggling to find the employees they need. Yet some labor economists would argue that the picture isn't complete. Employers are unable to find the workers they want at the wages they're willing to pay. Failing to appreciate this distinction could lead to policy errors down the road.
The STEM Graduate System Is Broken. Here's How to Fix It: The Optional Practical Training program has opened a side door into the U.S. job market with minimal labor protections and oversight. The U.S. needs to keep attracting the world's best and brightest, while simultaneously advancing the aspirations of its citizens and permanent residents for decent jobs and a rising standard of living. To do so, Congress must pull OPT out of the regulatory shadows, send clearer signals to the community and, ultimately, put the issue into voters' hands.
Rachel Rosenthal is an editor with Bloomberg Opinion. Previously, she was a markets reporter and editor at the Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong.
Disclaimer: This article first appeared on Bloomberg, and is published by special syndication arrangement.