The current economic crisis has caused most of the western world to fall into recession because of the credit crunch and the collapse of much of the under-regulated and over-confident banking industry. However, in most of Asia, especially developing Asia, the crisis has affected manufacturing and, hence, employment rather than the finance sectors, especially because the latter had already been restructured following the 1997 Asian Crisis. This paper considers the impact of the crisis on the range of labour markets across the region and assesses the ongoing relevance of the development model that is posited on low labour cost manufacturing aimed at assisting export industries. Impacts considered include migration flows of labour, the possibility of augmenting added value to existing production and the need to upgrade skills and competencies.

Martin Svoboda