Europe, Middle East and Africa
Employment and economic figures show promising growth in Europe, while the United Arab Emirates recently held a U.N. forum on one of its most important industries.
Economic recovery in the Euro-area reached its fastest rate in six years, according to Bloomberg, with particular strength in Germany and France.
The Purchasing Managers' Index for the Euro region as a whole increased in April, which signaled that job creation is on pace to reach a new record for the decade, the source explained. Economic and job activity was especially strong in France, which saw its index surpass Germany's for the first time in five years.
Economic projections for France have been in debate as the country votes for its next president. The first round of the elections took place April 23, with Emmanuel Macron winning 24.01 per cent of the votes and Marine Le Pen winning 21.30 per cent, The Local France reported. The second round of the elections will be held May 7.
The German government announced April 25 that it has increased its economic growth forecasts for the coming year by 0.1 per cent, according to Reuters. It anticipates that its gross domestic product will increase by 1.5 per cent in 2017 and by 1.7 per cent in 2018. In addition, the government predicts that 1 million new jobs will be added in total in 2017 and 2018.
The figures come as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May and European leaders negotiate the terms of Brexit. May invoked Article 50 in late March, a move which officially triggers the process for U.K.’s exit from the EU, the BBC reported. Under Article 50, there will be a two-year negotiation period for the terms of Brexit, and the U.K. will leave the EU in March 2019 whether or not a deal has been made. May also called for a general election to be held on June 8. She hopes the election will be a chance for U.K. leaders and citizens to strengthen their Brexit plans and hone in on negotiating terms, according to the Express.
“I have concluded the only way to guarantee certainty and security for years ahead is to hold this election,” May said. “Let’s put forward our plans for Brexit and our alternative programmes for government and then let the people decide.”
Over in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates has also seen job growth, with an especially strong showing in the tourism industry. The 2017 Ministerial Forum hosted by the United Nations World Tourism Organization and the Arabian Travel Market was held in Dubai, April 24, and spotlighted the economic and employment importance of the tourism industry in the region, Hospitality Net reported.
"Tourism is a top priority under the development policies of the UAE, revealing that the sector contributes 12.1% to the national GDP and accounts for around 10.4% of the domestic labour market," stated Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Economy H.E. Mohammed Khamis Al Muhairi at the conference, according to the source.
Economic and employment signs in April are pointing toward growth for both Japan and Thailand.
The Nikkei Flash Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index increased by 0.4 points over the month to reach 52.8 in April, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. April marks the eighth-straight month that the index has been above 50.
Senior Economist Paul Smith at IHS Markit, the firm that collects the data for the index, stated that companies are hiring new employees at "a rate that matched January's 34-month peak," according to the source. He also noted that April export orders increased "at a rate amongst the best in the past three years."
Demand for workers has been increasing in the country, especially in the construction industry as the country prepares to build the facilities needed for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. The demand is especially great in the northeastern areas of Japan that were affected by the May 2011 earthquake, as construction contractors are shifting their workers from these areas to Greater Tokyo to aid Olympic-building efforts.
Over in Thailand, the Asian Development Bank has forecast economic growth of 3.5 per cent economic growth for the country this year and 3.6 per cent growth in 2018, according to Thailand Business News. The bank cited rising exports as a main driver of the growth, and structural reform as a smaller contributing factor. The country's economy grew by 3.2 per cent in 2016.
This growth will be helped by the Eastern Economic Corridor Development project, which has been approved by the Thai government. The project intends to strengthen economic activity and employment opportunities along Thailand's eastern seaboard through supporting innovation, Thailand Business News reported. Infrastructure works will play a large role in the project, including investments in railways, highways, harbors and airports.
The economic situation is to improve across Latin America, as the region works to create jobs and boost employees.
The U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean recently forecasted that the regional gross domestic product for Latin America will increase by 1.3 per cent this year, the Miami Herald reported. Last year, the region's GDP contracted by 1.1 per cent.
The Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Panama, Peru, Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua and Guyana are predicted to experience GDP increases of 4 per cent or more. The Columbian economy, which suffered a blow in 2016 with dropping crude prices and the arrival of El Niño, is estimated to increase by 2.5 per cent this year, the source noted.
Employment prospects have been improving in Mexico, as the unemployment rate held at 3.5 per cent in March, relatively unchanged from February, according to Fox Business. Job growth in recent years has caused the unemployment rate to return to levels prior to the Great Recession of 2008. Overall, employment in 2017 has defied economists' expectations.
"In January, Mexico had seemed at risk of a recession in early 2017," said PNC Economist Bill Adams in a note, the source reported.
Adams called the March employment figures "unambiguously good."
Chile aims to see an increase in employment thanks to a surge in the development of national parks. The country recently earmarked 11 million acres of land for park use, through support from The Tompkins Foundation and the Chilean government. The country's leadership hopes that the expanded parks will boost ecotourism in Chile and estimates that they will contribute $270 million in annual revenue, as well as create more than 40,000 jobs for locals.
Job creation continues to be a subject of focus for the U.S., which added 98,000 jobs in March, marking a slower month of growth than January and February, The New York Times reported. The unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 per cent in March from 4.7 per cent the month prior.