Europe, Middle East and Africa
Employment varied throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa during the month of April. While some nations experienced notable employment and wage growth, others struggled to gain steady economic footing.
The U.K.'s labour situation, which has been steadily improving over the past year, continued this positive upward trend. According to The Guardian, the nation's jobless rate dropped from 5.6 per cent to 5.5 per cent in April as average earnings increased by 2.2 per cent. However, despite the strong labour market figures, David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce noted there are some areas of unease, namely the fact that the quarterly fall in unemployment was the smallest since the summer of 2013 and the youth employment rate is still almost three times as high as the national average. He added that these factors would make it premature for the broad positivity in the latest job figures to lead to an early increase in interest rates.
While employment was on the rise in Great Britain, France's economy continued to trend downward. According to France 24, the latest figures revealed that the nation's jobless rate climbed .4 per cent to 10.4 per cent. France's unemployment average is expected to increase to 10.6 in the next few months as recent graduates start searching for work.
Egypt experienced a positive change in its unemployment rate, with the country's jobless average dropping from 12.9 per cent in the final quarter of 2014 to 12.8 per cent for the first quarter of 2015. The Cairo Post reported that much of Egypt's job growth is due to projects implemented by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's administration, which has placed a strong focus on improving the country's labour situation.
Nigeria's government recently revealed a new method of calculating the country's unemployment rate. According to this new system, the country's jobless rate fell from 28 per cent at the end of 2014 to 6.4 percent in the first quarter of this year. The calculations now consider any person who works 20 hours per week to be gainfully employed rather than underemployed, explained All Africa. This new way of crunching numbers has drawn criticism from Nigerians who believe it to be an inaccurate representation of the country's true job shortage.
A number of countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region experienced positive shifts in their employment situations during April.
The Japan Times reported that Japan's economy grew at an unexpectedly fast pace throughout the first quarter of 2015, defying economists' expectations and pulling the nation out of a recession. Much of this was due to high rates of household spending, noted the news source. Japan's unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 per cent and the country's workforce is continuing to grow smaller, two elements that are contributing to the country's positive labour situation.
Singapore's unemployment rate also dropped, from 1.9 per cent at the end of 2014 to 1.8 per cent for the first quarter of 2015. The number of layoffs also declined at the start of this year, down by about 400 compared to the previous quarter. Despite these positive shifts, job growth slowed at the start of this year, noted Channel News Asia.
Unemployment was also on the decline in China. According to China.org.cn, the country's unemployment rate dropped from 3.3 per cent in January-March, to 3.2 per cent between February - April. The news source explained that decreases in the unemployment rate were mainly observed in the information and communications, retail, and professional and business services sectors. Job creation is a top priority and the nation hopes to create 10 million jobs before the end of 2015.
Unemployment varied for the Americas throughout the month of April. While some nations experienced steady growth, others saw economic decline.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped slightly to 5.4 per cent as 223,000 jobs were created, noted the Employment Situation Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of the industries that experienced the most growth were professional and business services, which added 62,000 jobs; healthcare, which saw an increase of 45,000 positions; and construction, which also grew its workforce by 45,000 after a few stagnant months. Average hourly earnings also rose, climbing by 3 cents to $24.87.
Mexico's unemployment rate also dropped recently. Fox News Latino reported that the country's jobless rate hit 3.9 per cent in March, down from 4.2 per cent the previous month and 4.8 per cent a year earlier. About 43 per cent of Mexican residents were working in the services industry, while 19.3 per cent held retail positions. Nearly 16 per cent were employed in the manufacturing field, while 12.6 per cent reported having agricultural jobs. About 8 per cent worked in construction.
Brazil's jobless rate increased recently as the country headed closer to a recession. Bloomberg reported that the nation's unemployment rate was 6.2 per cent in March, up from 5.9 per cent in February. After ending 2014 with a record low jobless rate of 4.3 per cent, Brazil's labour situation has been progressively declining. The start of 2015 represented the nation's worst employment performance in six years, explained the source.
Costa Rica's unemployment rate also went up. Telesur reported that the country's jobless rate grew from 9.8 per cent at the end of 2014 to 10.1 per cent in April 2015. The source explained that the nation's worsening labour situation is largely due to political unrest.