More economic growth is projected, but how do global unemployment rates fare now?
By The Editors
To explore international labor markets, companies must first consult global labor market data. PeopleScout, a global provider of RPO, MSP, and total workforce solutions, has partnered with HRO Today to produce quarterly reports that compile current international labor market figures, including measures such as national gross domestic product (GDP) and unemployment rates over time, from countries across the globe. This data reveals critical information about the state of the talent pool, working conditions, and recruitment needs of various countries and regions. It is an essential tool for predicting fruitful locations for expansion and recruitment, allowing multinational companies to stay competitive in talent acquisition.
In 2017, global economic growth is projected to accelerate moderately by 2.7 percent. Growth in advanced economies, such as those in North America, Western Europe or Japan, is expected to increase by 1.8 percent in 2017, according to the World Bank’s January 2017 Global Economic Prospects report. Fiscal stimulus in major economies—particularly in the U.S.—could generate faster domestic and global growth than projected, although rising trade protection under the Trump administration could have adverse effects. There should be an increase in emerging markets and developing economies, rising to 4.2 percent in 2017 from 3.4 percent in 2016.
In the U.S., GDP grew a meager 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017. This tepid growth is largely attributable to seasonal factors, reduced inventories, and hectic consumer spending in the second half of 2016. In the second quarter, private consumption is expected to show more resilience, building on an upbeat consumer sentiment and an outstandingly robust labor market finds FocusEconomics’ US Economic Outlook.
In March, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent from 4.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016. The unemployment rate has remained below 5 percent since January 2016, suggesting stability in the American job market and conditions considered by many economists to be “fully employed.”
The Canadian unemployment rate also fell slightly from 6.8 percent in the third quarter of 2016 to 6.7 percent in March. This shows continued improvement from last year’s rate of 7.1 percent.
Asia Pacific (APAC)
Preliminary figures measuring the state of the economy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is comprised of 10 countries in Southeast Asia, showed that activity was consistent at the start of 2017. The economy expanded to 4.8 percent growth in the first quarter of 2017, exceeding the results of the fourth quarter of 2016. While the overall figure illustrates healthy growth in the region, performance was mixed across the economies of various ASEAN members. In Singapore, growth decreased from the two-year high at the end of 2016 amid a pullback in industrial activity while GDP figures disappointed in Vietnam. A new tax on natural resources, declining output from mature oil fields, and a disruption in smartphone supply chains weighed on manufacturing output, finds FocusEconomics’ Economic Snapshot for ASEAN.
Japan maintained a low unemployment rate of 2.8 percent, down from 3.1 percent at the end of 2016—the largest improvement in unemployment in APAC in the last quarter.
Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA)
The German economy is the largest in EMEA with a GDP of $3.980 billion. Unemployment in Germany remained stable at 3.9 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
France, the fourth largest economy in EMEA, remains troubled by a high unemployment rate of 10 percent, which hasn’t improved in recent months. The French GDP expanded a meager 0.3 percent over the previous quarter. In general, economic growth has been lackluster in France and the incoming government will inherit an economy in need of reforms to boost growth reports FocusEconomics’ Economic Snapshot for the Euro Area.
South Africa is the largest economy on the continent, and suffers from an enormous unemployment rate of 26.5 percent, which is worse than 2016’s rate of 24.5 percent. Without urgent action to address low levels of competitiveness, Africa’s economies will not create enough jobs for the young people entering the job market.
Uncertainty related to the potential course of U.S. trade policy toward Latin America has receded somewhat during the first quarter of 2017. The economy of Latin America contracted 0.7 percent in 2016, marking the worst economic performance since the region was hit by the global financial crisis in 2009.
Brazil is the largest economy in Latin America with a GDP of $3.134 billion. It suffers from the region’s highest unemployment at 13.70 percent, which is up 6.1 percentage points since the first quarter of 2016.
The Mexican economy is the second largest in the region and its quarterly unemployment rate fell to 3.19 percent, an improvement of 0.2 percent from the prior quarter and 1.1 since the first quarter of 2016.