Global Talent Update - August 2016

GlobeEurope, Middle East and Africa

Fears about the economic impact of Brexit were quelled with the arrival of a positive July jobs report. The Guardian reported that despite economists’ expectations that unemployment claims would rise by 9,500, claims dropped by 8,600 to 763,600, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This was the first decrease in unemployment since February 2016.

Some 172,000 more people were employed in the U.K. during the April to June period than during the first three-month period of the year, bringing the total number of employed to 31.75 million people, the Guardian reported. The number of those unemployed also posted its lowest level since 2008, registering at 1.64 million people. The national unemployment rate remained at 49 per cent.

Average weekly earnings increased 2.3 per cent during the April to June period, rising 0.1 per cent from the period prior, according to the source.

France also received positive economic news, with its most recent jobs report showing that the national unemployment rate fell below 10 per cent for the first time since 2012, as reported by The Local. During the second quarter of the year, the rate dropped 0.3 points to 9.6 per cent.

In Morocco, sights are set on job creation and economic growth. Morocco World News reported that the country was recently approved for the Precautionary and Liquidity Line offered by the International Monetary Fund, which is a flexible financing arrangement designed to improve economic situations.

Mission Chief of the IMF Nicolas Blancher encouraged Morocco to implement additional programs for improving employment figures, including creating educational initiatives that respond to areas of demand in the labour market, the site noted.

One effort to boost employment is the Vision 2020 Tourism Strategy, a model intended to boost the tourism industry in Morocco that is anticipated to create 50,000 new jobs, according to MWN.

In the United Arab Emirates, the healthcare industry has been showing strong figures, with the government investing in new hospitals and technological research and development, Gulf News reported.

“Amid an uncertain employment landscape in the UAE, healthcare continues to demonstrate strong demand for professionals,” said Sanjay Modi, managing director for Asia Pacific and Middle East for Monster.com, in an interview with the source. Modi cited plans for expanding the industry, including a $2 billion venture to build a modern medical university in UAE by 2017.

Asia-Pacific

Amid the current moderate pace of economies around the world, the employment situations across Asia have been largely able to hold their own.

The latest figures out of Thailand show the GDP advanced 3.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2016. This would set the economy up for 3 to 3.5 per cent growth for the whole year, according to Thailand's independent newspaper, The Nation. In fact, the Thai economy is now outpacing that of Singapore, which rose just 0.3 per cent in the second quarter. The forecast growth for Singapore for 2016 was recently revised, down to 1 to 2 percent for the year.

Thailand on the other hand has picked up speed thanks to a number of airport, motorway, train and transit projects that have been fueled by investment from the public sector. These mega-infrastructure ventures - worth several-hundred-billion baht - are taking place in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi and in several Central and Northeast provinces. The multiple projects are expected to run through the next five years and help boost employment figures.

After a strong first quarter, Japan witnessed a slowdown in economic growth this quarter, according to Fortune. Data from the Cabinet Office showed a growth of just 0.2 per cent for the third-largest economy in the world, down 1.8 per cent from a revised first quarter figure. In an effort to help divert "external headwinds" and hold onto moderate recovery, the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an economic stimulus package of 13.5 trillion yen in fiscal measures. He must now find and create even more policies aimed at generating job creation and economic growth.

Housing investment and public spending remained key contributors to the Japanese economy this quarter, noted the source. In fact, housing investment grew at the fastest pace since 2011, at 5 per cent.

Though the Japanese economy showed signs of slowing in the second quarter, Economy Minister Nobuteru Ishihara issued a statement saying that while the government should be aware of risks including Brexit and slowing emerging market growth, "Japan's economy is likely to achieve a recovery driven by private demand," reported Reuters.

Americas

After the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics, Brazil now looks at the economic impacts of the games.

“These were marvelous Olympic Games in the marvelous city,” said International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, according to GamesBids. “History will talk about a Rio de Janeiro before and a much better Rio de Janeiro after the Olympic Games.”

Hosting the games involved the creation of “thousands and thousands of jobs,” along with extensive infrastructure improvements, said Bach, as reported by Bloomberg.

As Brazil adjusts post-games, other Latin American countries are working to address domestic employment issues. In Mexico, all eyes are on the automotive industry, with several major car manufacturers announcing the expansion of operations in the country. The industry promotes job growth in other sectors as well, including technology and logistics.

Yusen Logistics is nearing completion of a new 60,000-square-foot warehouse in Guanajuato, which will support the automotive industry, reported the American Journal of Transportation.

“Mexico is a place where we are doing a lot of investing,” said Adriene Bailey, chief strategy officer for Yusen Logistics, in an interview with the journal. “Mexico is one of the most important logistics markets in our network.”

Over in Chile, national leadership is looking ahead for opportunities to boost employment. A recent report from eMarketer suggests that job growth may be on its way in the mobile technology industry. The report found that smartphone usage is quickly increasing in the country, with 71.4 per cent of the population expected to own at least one mobile phone in 2016, according to The Santiago Times. In addition, the report forecasts that market saturation for the smartphone industry will not arrive until 2020.

In the U.S., job gains exceeded economist expectations for a strong July showing. Some 255,000 jobs were added during the month, far ahead of the 180,000 jobs predicted by analysts, CNBC reported. The number of people unemployed fell by 184,000, causing the labour force participation rate to rise to 62.8 per cent, while the unemployment rate remained at 4.9 per cent.

"This was another strong report that checked most, if not all of the significant boxes," said Curt Long, chief economist at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, in an interview with the source. "The labor market should remain strong as long as consumers maintain their robust spending pace."