Gaining Momentum

Recent research shows that both advanced and developing economies see growth and added jobs.

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 magazine to produce quarterly reports that compile current international labor market figures, including measures like 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 the recruitment needs of various countries and regions. It is an essential tool for predicting fruitful locations for expansion and recruitment, thereby allowing multinational companies to stay competitive in talent acquisition.


According to the World Bank’s June 2017 Global Economic Prospects report, global economic growth in 2017 is projected to accelerate to 2.7 percent, up from 2.4 percent in 2016. Activity in advanced economies driven by economic growth in the United States is expected to gain momentum in 2017, accelerating to 1.9 percent before moderating gradually in 2018 and 2019. In Europe area and Japan, strengthening domestic demand and exports have led to improved 2017 growth forecasts. Growth in emerging markets and developing economies is projected to reach 4.1 percent in 2017 and 4.5 percent in 2018.(1)

North America

In the U.S, the second quarter 2017 GDP grew at 2.6 percent, up from only 0.7 percent last quarter. An increase in consumer and business-equipment spending powered a U.S. economic recovery in the second quarter, signaling that the expansion the U.S. has enjoyed for eight years is on track to be further sustained. This quarter’s results confirm that the economic slowdown at the start of 2017 was temporary, and show a growth of about 1.9 percent in the first half of 2017 compared to the 2.2 percent average growth rate through the end of 2016.(2)

In June, the U.S. unemployment rate held relatively steady at 4.4 percent from 4.3 percent in the first quarter of 2017. 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.”

Canada’s projected GDP growth for 2017 is 2.7 percent, the highest since 2011. Economic activity this quarter has been led largely by consumer demand and residential investment, but business investment is also rising. The estimated annual GDP growth follows strong GDP growth of 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017.(3)

The Canadian unemployment rate also fell slightly from 6.7 percent in March 2017 to 6.5 percent in June. It is the lowest unemployment rate since October 2008.

Asia Pacific

The economy of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is comprised of 10 countries in Southeast Asia, continued to grow steadily in the second quarter of 2017, according to a preliminary estimate of regional GDP compiled by FocusEconomics.(4) Growth was fairly steady at 4.8 percent in the second quarter of 2017. While the ASEAN economy has managed to maintain healthy growth in the past several quarters despite a number of uncertainties, several economies have failed to grow at full speed, keeping annual growth stunted at around 4.6 percent since 2014.

This quarter’s improved economic outlook for ASEAN can be attributed to the 2017 GDP forecasts for Malaysia and Singapore. Surging exports and robust investment plans are supporting the spike in Malaysia’s GDP growth, while Singapore is expected to benefit from an expansionary fiscal stance. However, these upward trends are partly countered by lower growth prospects in the Philippines and Vietnam. Other economies in the region were relatively stable.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa

The German economy is the largest in the EMEA region, with a GDP of Intl $3,980 billion. Unemployment in Germany remained stable at 3.9 percent in the second quarter of 2017.

The United Kingdom is the third largest economy in EMEA, behind Russia. Unemployment in the second quarter remained at 4.6 percent, consistent with where it was at the end of the first quarter. According to Office for National Statistics figures, the U.K. economy grew by just 0.3 percent in the second quarter of 2017, following a 0.2 percent expansion in the first quarter of 2017. This lackluster growth can be attributed to the lack of clarity about Brexit, affecting businesses and households, and inflation created by the depreciation of the currency in the autumn of 2017, affecting consumers.(5 )The U.K.’s steady unemployment rate could be adversely impacted if the country’s tepid economic growth continues.

France is the fourth largest economy in the EMEA region but has a relatively high unemployment rate of 9.6 percent. However, the rate declined by 0.4 percent since the first quarter and 0.6 percent since the end of 2016, suggesting that unemployment may be moving in the right direction. French GDP expanded a meager 0.5 percent in both the first and second quarters, however, the outlook for the rest of the year is positive. Domestic demand is projected to increase due to rising consumer confidence, cuts in social contribution and business taxes, and continued favorable financing conditions.(6)

South Africa is the largest economy on the continent of Africa and continues to suffer from an enormous unemployment rate of 27.7 percent, 1 percent worse than last year’s level of 26.7 percent. Unemployment and inequality will remain high, reflecting large skill gaps and low education quality within the workforce. Although inflation has been high due to depreciation of the rand (South African currency) and rising food prices, it is slowly easing.(7)


World Bank’s June 2017 Global Economic Prospects https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/26800/9781464810244.pdf

Chandra, Sho. Second-Quarter U.S. Growth of 2.6% Underscores Resilience, Bloomberg MarketsJuly 28, 2017 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-28/second-quarter-u-s-growth-rate-of-2-6-underscores-resilience

Yooun, Sean. Canada’s projected GDP growth for 2017 is highest since 2011. Business Vancouver, July 7, 2017. https://www.biv.com/article/2017/7/canadas-projected-gdp-growth-2017-highest-2011-sco/

(4)Economic Snapshot for ASEAN, FocusEconomics, July 19, 2017, http://www.focus economics.com/regions/asean

Hammond admits UK consumers hurt by pound’s fall as GDP grows by 0.3%, The Guardian, July 26, 2017 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/26/uk-gdp-economy-grows-slowdown-manufacturing-construction-services

France – Economic forecast summary (June 2017), OECD.org http://www.oecd.org/economy/france-economic-forecast-summary.htm

South Africa – Economic forecast summary (June 2017), OECD.org http://www.oecd.org/economy/south-africa-economic-forecast-summary.htm

Tags: APAC, EMEA, Globalization, Magazine Article, October-2017, Research Report, Talent Acquisition

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