Global Talent Update - December 2015

GlobeEurope, Middle East and Africa

While some countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa experienced record-low unemployment rates recently, others continued to struggle with fluctuating job markets.

In the U.K. unemployment dropped to 5.2 per cent during the quarter ending in October. This represented a 0.3 per cent decline from the jobless rate in the previous quarter, which reached 5.5 per cent. According to The Telegraph, this is the lowest rate the U.K. has experienced since January 2006, before the country entered a financial recession. Despite the drop in unemployment, however, the U.K.'s progress in raising wages fell short of economists' expectations. The news source reported that weekly earnings increased by 2 per cent in October, down from a 2.4 per cent jump in September.

Germany experienced notable improvements to its employment situation recently. Deutsche Welle reported that the number of unemployed German residents fell by 16,000 in November, representing a decline of 84,000 from 12 months earlier. The jobless average fell from 6.4 per cent in October to 6.3 per cent in November, during which time the country's economy expanded by 0.3 per cent.

Turkish unemployment was on the rise, reported Todays Zaman. The country's jobless rate reached 10.3 per cent in September, up from 10.1 per cent in August. The country's youth unemployment rate, which takes into account all workers under the age of 25, jumped from 18.3 per cent to 18.5 per cent, noted the source.

All Africa reported that South Africa continues to struggle with severe nonfarm unemployment, in addition to high rates of job loss within the agricultural sector. Continued job loss across all South African industries has damaged consumer confidence and set the nation up for financial difficulties in 2016, explained the source.

Asia-Pacific

Employment situations have varied across Asia recently. While some nations experienced fluctuations in their job markets, others maintained relatively stable jobless rates.

Recent numbers from Japan reveal that the country's unemployment rate hit 3.1 per cent in October. This was a 20-year low for Japan - the nation had not experienced such a low jobless percentage since the summer of 1995. Throughout October, 124 positions were available for every 100 residents, reported Nikkei Asian Review, a positive trend that's expected to continue.

Taiwan's unemployment rate increased by 0.01 per cent in October, reported Focus Taiwan News Channel. Despite this marginal increase, the jobless average remained at a relatively low 3.9 per cent, which is the lowest figure for the month of October in 15 years. The source reported that 1,000 less workers were employed in October than in September. This drop was largely due to a decrease in demand for exports from foreign countries.

Unemployment was also on the rise in Singapore, explained the Singapore Business Review. The country's jobless rate climbed 0.1 per cent to 3.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2015. The publication noted that this marked the second quarter in a row where unemployment went up. The nation's long-term unemployment rate jumped to 0.6 per cent, up by 0.1 per cent from the third quarter of 2014.

Americas

Jobless rates throughout the Americas varied in recent months, though many nations experienced notable declines to their employment situations.

Unemployment in the U.S. remained unchanged at 5 per cent in November. The country added 211,000 jobs during this month, largely in construction, professional and technical services and healthcare. Average hourly earnings increased by 4 cents to $25.25, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Canada shed 35,700 positions in November, causing its unemployment rate to increase slightly to 7.1 per cent. CBC News reported that the figures are not as severe as they appear on paper, since most of the jobs that were cut were part-time positions, while many of the gains were in full-time work.

Brazil's jobless rate fell very unexpectedly in November, dropping from 7.9 per cent to 7.5 per cent. According to Bloomberg, most economists had predicted Brazilian unemployment would rise to 8 per cent, since the nation is in the midst of a recession. The source noted, however, that this drop is likely temporary since it reflects increases in seasonal hiring.

According to the International Labor Organization, the total unemployment rate for the Caribbean and Latin America recently hit 6.7 per cent, the highest average the region has experienced in five years. The organization noted that this number will likely hit 6.9 per cent by the end of 2016 due to financial downturns in many of the area's largest economies.