Europe, Middle East and Africa
Recent labour figures throughout Europe and Africa have been largely positive, while employment rates in some Middle Eastern nations are on the rise.
BBC News reported that U.K. unemployment dropped to its lowest number in six years at the end of 2014. The current jobless rate is 5.8 per cent, with an active workforce of 30.8 million people. The source also noted that compensation growth was outpacing inflation, a promising sign for future economic improvements. Germany experienced a 6.5 per cent unemployment rate in January, the lowest number for the country in 25 years, explained The Wall Street Journal. Despite these promising figures, some European nations continue to struggle with their labour situations. The source noted that Spain ended 2014 with a jobless rate of 23.7 per cent - the highest unemployment number among developed countries.
The unemployment rate decreased in South Africa in the last quarter of 2014, reported All Africa. The nation ended 2014 with a jobless rate of 24.3 per cent, down from 25.4 per cent. The country's strongest industries were construction and community and social services. According to the source, economists remain optimistic about the country's economic situation for 2015 despite the high unemployment rates.
Jordan's jobless rate recently jumped from 11.4 per cent to 12.3 per cent, reported Middle East Monitor. Unemployment is becoming a growing problem among youth, a demographic with a jobless rate of 35.4 per cent, and women, 19.1 per cent of whom are searching for work. The source noted that college-educated workers are also struggling to find employment. About 76 percent of unemployed women have bachelor's degrees, while the same is true for over 24 per cent of unemployed men.
Asian unemployment rates have remained largely unchanged in recent months. While no significant changes have been seen, figures have stayed mostly stable, with some countries experiencing slight positive growth.
RTT News reported that Taiwan's jobless rate at the end of 2014 was 3.84 per cent, down from 3.87 per cent in November. The number of people in the country searching for work decreased from 448,000 to 444,000. At the close of the fourth quarter, 11,151,000 people were employed in Taiwan, causing the labor force participation rate to hit 58.58 per cent.
Japan, a nation that had been trying to emerge from a recession, succeeded in doing so at the end of 2014, reported Bloomberg. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 per cent, the lowest rate the country has seen since August 1997. Output rose by 1.8 per cent in the fourth quarter despite low rates of household spending.
Malaysia and Singapore did not experience much change at the end of 2014, but managed to keep unemployment figures low. Malaysia had a jobless rate of 2.7 per cent, down from 3.4 per cent 12 months earlier, reported RTT News. Singapore had an overall unemployment rate of 1.9 per cent at the end of the fourth quarter, which was relatively unchanged from 2013's number, according to Nasdaq.
In recent months, the labour situations in countries throughout the Americas experienced both ups and downs.
In the U.S., the unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.7 per cent, although this was in large part due to greater labor force participation, which increased from 62.7 per cent to 62.9 per cent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm payroll grew by 257,000 workers in January. A number of industries experienced growth including retail trade, construction, healthcare, manufacturing and financial activities. Average hourly earnings also increased by 12 cents to $24.75.
Brazil's unemployment rate declined at the end of 2014, with metropolitan joblessness decreasing from 4.8 per cent to 4.3 per cent. The Wall Street Journal noted that such a steep decline was unexpected, as economists predicted an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent. Despite this expansion, mean wages were down 1.8 per cent from November 2014.
According to Colombia Reports, Colombia hit its lowest unemployment rate in 14 years at the end of 2014. The nation's overall jobless rate was 9.1 per cent as the fourth quarter came to a close. The source reported that most employment gains were made in the housing, transportation and manufacturing sectors.