Europe, Middle East and Africa
The U.K.’s negotiating strategy for Brexit underwent further clarification following the Queen’s Speech in June. In the speech, the Queen detailed 24 new bills proposed by the U.K. government, 19 of which relate to giving greater power to Edinburgh following Brexit, the BBC reported.
A “Repeal Bill” was also presented which would honor current EU laws as UK laws, as well as grant a temporary power to the U.K. Parliament to modify laws that do not “operate appropriately” following leaving the EU, the BBC explained.
The speech follows Prime Minister Theresa May’s loss in the general election. Neither party gained the 326 seats necessary to secure a majority in the House of Commons. The Conservatives will have the first chance to establish an administration, as they were the party in power before the election, as the BBC noted. However, if they fail to do so, Labour has the option to create their own minority government.
British leaders have offered their thoughts on which stances the country should take in its Brexit negotiations with the EU, among them Chancellor Philip Hammond. Mr Hammond recently made headlines with his statement that employment should be a priority.
“As we go into that negotiation my clear view, and I believe the view of the majority of people in Britain, is that we should prioritise protecting jobs, protecting economic growth and protecting prosperity as we enter those negotiations and take them forward,” Mr Hammond said, according to the BBC.
All eyes are also on the future in France, which just saw its first month of governance under newly elected President Emmanuel Macron.
The statistics bureau of the country, Insee, recently released a report projecting that France’s GDP would grow by 1.6 per cent this year, which would be the strongest expansion since 2011, Markets Insider reported. Last year, GDP growth was 1.1 per cent.
Furthermore, Insee noted that falling labour costs would also bump up job figures, predicting that employment will grow by 220,000 in 2017 and that the unemployment rate would fall by 0.6 points to settle at 9.4 per cent by year-end.
A recent report from Insead Business School in collaboration with Google and the Centre for Economic Growth named the United Arab Emirates one of the top 20 countries in the world for developing and retaining talent, according to The National. The UAE was ranked the No. 1 country for talent retention in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The report recommended that the UAE focus its skills development in technology to support long-term employment growth.
Industries across Japan are searching for ways to strengthen skills development, following recent news that the labour shortage in the country is at a record high.
Data released by the government showed that in April, the last period for which data is available, there were 1.48 jobs in the country for every applicant, or 148 jobs for every 100 people, NDTV Profit reported. The unemployment rate was at 2.8 per cent in April, its lowest level since 1994. The source noted that the high-demand market could lead to higher wages and in turn increased consumer spending.
However, industry activity in the country is on the rise, “rebounding” between March and April, according to additional government data that was recently released, RTT News reported.
All-industry activity increased 2.1 per cent month-over-month in April, after a 0.7 per cent decline in March. Construction activity was up 7.3 per cent, following a 0.9 per cent decrease in March, while industrial output rose 4 per cent after a 1.9 per cent decline.
The gains pushed the yearly rate of all-industry activity growth to 1.9 per cent, the highest rate in five-months, from 1 per cent in March.
The unemployment rate in Thailand edged up in the first quarter of 2017, increasing to 1.2 per cent from 1 perc ent, The Nation reported. Some 37.4 million people were employed in the first quarter, which represents a 0.6 per cent decline year-over-year.
The country’s National Economic and Social Development Board attributing the jobless rate to weak private investment and exports. However, it believes exports will pick up later this year, boosting employment figures.
The Nation noted that despite falling employment, the baht increased in appreciated value to 34.04 per US dollar, which is its strongest appreciation in 22 months.
To improve talent recruitment, the Department of Skill Development, part of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, recently partnered with the Federation of Thai Industries to create the Manufacturing Automation and Robotics Academy, OpenGovAsia reported. The new initiative will support skill development in mechanics and automation for industries including electronics, food, plastics and automotive.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in 16 years in May, dropping to 4.3 per cent, data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed. Nonfarm payroll employment gains were weaker than expected, Reuters noted, with just 138,000 positions added during the month. Professional and business services employment grew by 38,000, while healthcare added 24,000 jobs and food services and drinking places gained 30,000 positions.
Wages also increased, with average hourly earnings for all private nonfarm payroll employees rising by 4 cents to reach $26.22.
BLS data showed that manufacturing employment experienced little change in May. A recent data analysis by SupplyChainDigest shed some light on manufacturing jobs activity in the U.S. Employment in the sector has bounced back from the lowest point of the recession in December of 2009, which saw employment at 11.46 million positions, and is now at 12.4 million. However, the source compared current job figures to the 17.2 million positions seen in October 2000. It noted that manufacturing jobs represent 8.5 per cent of all nonfarm employment in the U.S., down from 10.5 per cent 2005.
On June 14, the Federal Reserve raised short-term interest rates by 0.25 per cent, the second increase this year.
Government officials announced that Brazil’s GDP grew 1 per cent in the three months of the year, marking its official exit from its longest recession in history, the BBC reported.
Over the past two years, the economy declined by nearly 8 per cent. The GDP growth for the beginning of 2017 was partially attributed to a record-high harvest of soybeans, which the source noted is one of the main exports of the country.
The World Bank Group organization IFC recently invested $81.2 million in Banco Industrial do Brasil, a bank that offers credit to small and medium enterprises, The Financial reported. The funds are intended to help boost SMEs and entrepreneurship activity in the country.
The unemployment rate in Peru dropped to 6.6 per cent between March and May, which is the lowest level in the last four months, Andina reported, citing data recently released by the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics. Trade employment rose by 2.9 per cent, with 13,500 positions added, though construction, services and manufacturing shed jobs.
The country was recently elected as a regular member to the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization for 2017-2020, according to Andina. Government and business representatives from Peru will meet three times a year with the executive body of ILO to develop and decide on the agenda of the International Labour Conference as well as ILO policy, the source explained. It is the first time Peru has been appointed as a member of the ILO Governing Body since 2008.