Europe, Middle East and Africa
Employment situations varied greatly across Europe, the Middle East and Africa as 2015 came to a close. While some countries ended the year on a high note, others are hoping to experience financial growth as 2016 progresses.
In Europe, the U.K. saw its unemployment rate drop to 5.1 per cent for the three months to November 2015, which is the lowest average the country has experienced since 2005. The BBC reported that the number of job-seekers declined by 99,000 over this quarter, bringing the number of unemployed U.K. residents to just under 1.7 million. Despite the increase in work, wages continued to lag behind, noted the source. Average weekly earnings only rose by 2 per cent during these three months, which was the slowest expansion that salaries have seen since the start of 2015.
Italy's unemployment rate also fell, hitting a three-year low. RTT News explained that the nation's seasonally adjusted jobless average dropped from 11.5 per cent in October to 11.3 per cent in November. This progress defied economists' expectations, noted the news source, since most experts had expected Italy's employment situation to remain stagnant. Youth unemployment, which has been a major issue for Italy, dropped as well, going from 39.3 per cent to 38.1 per cent.
Egypt's unemployment rate increased recently, ending 2015 at 12.8 per cent. StarAfrica reported that Egyptian joblessness stood at an average of 10.74 per cent between 1993 and 2015. The nation's record-low unemployment rate was 8.10 per cent in 1999, while its record-high figure was 13.4 per cent in 2013.
South Africa has also been struggling to gain economic footing, reported Market Realist. The country's year-on-year GDP growth for 2015's third quarter was just 1 per cent. Two of the country's significant industries, mining and agriculture, have been responsible for the bulk of the job losses. Despite small economic growth overall, there are some bright spots in South Africa's clothing industry. According to Statistics South Africa, the sector has grown by 1.8 per cent throughout 2015. Generating about 8 per cent of GDP for the nation, the clothing industry makes up 14 percent of total manufacturing employment.
Employment situations varied throughout Asia recently.
According to the Japan Times, the ratio of job seekers to available positions rose by 0.01 point in the country between October and November. There are now 1.25 jobs for every unemployed resident, which is the highest ratio the nation has seen since 1992. However, the country's unemployment rate was on the rise in November, increasing from 3.1 per cent to 3.3 per cent. The source attributed this slight increase to the trend of people leaving their jobs to seek out better positions.
Australia’s unemployment rate remained stable at 5.8 per cent in December, reported The Sydney Morning Herald. The country shed 1,000 jobs. Economists had expected the nation to lose 10,000 positions and for the employment rate to climb to 5.9 per cent. While some experts speculated that this growth may have been a fluke, the Reserve Bank of Australia stated that the country’s business conditions were “above average.”
The jobless rate in Malaysia ticked up slightly in November, reported RTT News. The average increased from 3.1 per cent in October to 3.2 per cent in November. Malaysia’s job market has been declining since 2014, noted the source. While 453,000 Malaysian residents were unemployed in November 2015, just 375,100 people were looking for jobs 12 months earlier.
Countries throughout the Americas have been experiencing highs and lows within their employment situations recently. While some nations are making giant strides toward total employment, other countries are struggling to keep their economies stable.
The U.S. finished 2015 by adding 292,000 jobs in December. The country's unemployment rate remained essentially unchanged at 5 per cent. Throughout the year, the nation created 2.65 million positions, which made 2015 the strongest year for hiring since the new millennium. Wage growth also increased throughout the year, though its rate of growth lagged behind that of job creation. Still, improvements to the U.S. economy caused the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates for the first time in nearly 10 years.
Mexico's employment situation has also been experiencing improvements recently, reported Fox News Latino. The nation's jobless rate hit 4.1 per cent in November 2015, down from 4.6 per cent one year earlier. Despite this positive shift, however, the country's underemployment rate, which measures people who are not working as many hours as they would like, was on the rise. This average climbed from 7.9 per cent in November 2014 to 9.4 per cent in November 2015.
Brazil continues to struggle with its job market, reported the Latin American Herald Tribune. The latest figures from the South American nation show that the country's unemployment rate reached 9 per cent between August and October, compared to 6.6 per cent a year earlier. Brazil's economy shrank by 3.7 per cent in 2015, and is expected to decline by 3 per cent over the next 12 months.
On the other end of the spectrum, Ecuador continues on its robust path to total employment. The country's unemployment rate hit 4.8 per cent at the end of 2015, reported Telesur. It now has the lowest jobless average in all of Latin America - its next closest contender is Peru, which rests at 5.8 per cent unemployment. The source reported that Ecuador's progress has largely been attributed to government policies that protect the rights of workers and offer incentives to employers who hire long-term employees. "It's a very encouraging figure in light of the fall in the price of oil, the appreciation of the [U.S.] dollar and the currency devaluation in neighboring countries. Despite all of that, we have protected employment," stated Leonardo Berrezueta, Minister of Labor.