Global Talent Update - September 2015

GlobeEurope, Middle East and Africa

Labour situations varied across Europe, the Middle East and Africa recently, as certain nations made progress, while others experienced setbacks.

The eurozone has been experiencing significant improvements to its job market recently. According to BBC, the region's jobless rate stood at 10.9 per cent when it was last measured at the end of July. This represents a 0.2 per cent drop from June, when the unemployment average was 11.1 per cent. The source explained that this drop was largely spurred by labour improvements in Italy, where the number of job-seekers fell by over 140,000. July was the first time since the start of 2012 that the eurozone's jobless rate has been below 11 per cent.

Egypt experienced economic growth in August as its private sector business activity gained traction. Albawaba Business reported that the Emirates NBD Egypt Purchasing Managers' Index rose from 49.2 in July to 51.2 in August. Because a reading that exceeds 50 indicates growth, this was a notable shift for the nation. The source reported that this economic expansion appeared to somewhat affect employment, as the country's jobless rate stayed steady at 12.7 per cent, but Egypt continues to deal with high unemployment rates among young people with college degrees looking for post-graduate jobs.

South Africa, a nation already attempting to manage a high unemployment rate, will likely lose more jobs in the coming months. The South African reported that the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration has already warned residents that employment opportunities will continue to disappear as layoffs are planned for nearly every major industry. The source reported that the largest cuts will likely be made in the mining and manufacturing sectors.

Asia-Pacific

Despite China's financial troubles, unemployment figures have been relatively stable throughout Asia recently. Although some nations experienced declines, no major losses appear to have been sustained.

Japan's unemployment rate fell from 3.4 per cent in June to 3.3 per cent in July, recent figures show. Nikkei Asian Review reported that job availability has also been on the rise in Japan, expanding from 1.19 to 1.21 during this period. The number of Japanese residents that were laid off or forced into retirement, dropped to 4.7 per cent, the lowest rate Japan has seen in 13 years.

Despite Singapore's reputation as having a traditionally strong employment market, recent numbers showed that the country's job situation experienced weakness during the first half of 2015. The Sun Daily explained that locals lost 8,900 positions during the first six months of the year, while foreign workers employed in Singapore lost 8,000 jobs. According to government leaders, this decline can be partially attributed to an exodus of people under the age of 25 from the nation's workforce. Sectors that experienced the most notable declines included the manufacturing and construction industries.

While many countries are watching China closely to see how the nation's weak stock market will affect their domestic fiscal situations, Chinese leaders say their country is faring fine in terms of employment and economic growth. According to a Xinhua report, Xu Shaoshi, head of the National Development and Reform Commission, stated that over 9.5 million jobs were created in Chinese cities between January and August.

"The economy has been generally holding steady this year and the underlying trend has been positive, while the drivers for stable and healthy development in the future are powerful," explained the government official in a speech he delivered for business people in Beijing earlier this month.

Americas

There has been a range of employment shifts throughout the Americas recently. Some nations experienced notable growth while others sustained job losses.

CBC News reported that Canada created 12,000 jobs in August. This net gain was the result of 54,400 new full-time jobs and the loss of 42,400 part-time jobs. The source explained that while it is a good sign for the country that most of the gains were full-time positions, many of them were in the public sector, while private-sector growth typically indicates a strong labour situation. Despite these new jobs, the unemployment rate ticked up slightly, increasing from 6.8 per cent to 7.0 per cent.

Brazil's unemployment rate was also on the rise, climbing to 8.3 per cent at the end of the second quarter. Merco Press reported that the number of unemployed residents grew to 8.4 million during this quarter, while the number of employed people remained at 92.2 million. The source pointed to a number of companies planning future job cuts in Brazilian facilities, such as German car company Daimler AG, which plans to reduce its workforce by 13 per cent. Significant employment reductions like this are expected to keep pushing Brazil's unemployment average even higher for the rest of 2015.

The U.S. received a relatively strong job report in August as the country's unemployment rate dropped to 5.1 per cent. CNN reported that the country added 173,000 positions last month. While economists had predicted the nation would add 207,000 jobs, this is still a sign of significant labour market growth. The source noted that wages expanded by 2.2 per cent, and that most of the new jobs were classified as high-income. These factors are indicative of a generally strong economy.