Europe, Middle East and Africa
Employment situations varied throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa in March. While some nations saw strong progress, others experienced steep declines. One common thread among all the regions is that youth unemployment remains an ongoing challenge.
Europe, which has recently been experiencing a difficult labour situation, saw a few bright moments this month. France, whose employment numbers had reached record highs, saw slight improvements to its job market. According to Agence France-Presse, the number of French residents seeking employment recently dropped from 3.496 million to 3.48 million. Still, economic growth has remained around .3 per cent for the nation, while experts believe it will need to expand at a rate of 1.5 per cent for the labour situation to truly improve.
Great Britain's employment numbers continue to improve. Currently, the nation is maintaining an unemployment rate of 5.7 per cent. More people are working in the region than ever before, and applications for unemployment benefits have fallen to their lowest levels in seven years, reported the BBC. Though youth unemployment has dropped in this area recently, The Associated Press noted that it remains a significant issue, with 40 per cent of British youth looking for work.
The latest information out of Statistics South Africa revealed that close to 9 million people were working non-agricultural jobs in the country. This number reflects the addition of 42,000 workers since September 2014. Despite this encouraging movement, youth unemployment remains the nation's biggest obstacle. A report by Spy Ghana explained that this largely has to do with more African youth receiving formal education and therefore not being able to secure positions that require vocational skills.
Throughout the Asia-Pacific region, employment situations varied from nation to nation. While some countries logged impressive growth, others encountered setbacks.
Australia's unemployment rate recently dropped to 6.3 per cent. Agence France-Presse reported that the jobless average is down from 6.4 per cent, which was a 12-year high, because fewer residents were searching for work. Throughout February, 15,600 jobs were added, the majority of which were full-time positions. Despite these improvements, the source explained that economists are still describing Australia's economy as "soft" and warn that things may decline again.
Taiwan's jobless rate recently dropped to a 15-year low. According to The China Post, unemployment dropped by .4 per cent in February to equal 3.69 per cent, an average the country has not seen since 2000. This positive shift affected nearly all industries, explained the source. Industrial, agricultural and service-based workers all saw significant growth in their sectors, as did many white-collar professionals. The improved labour market may be the reason that a growing number of workers feel positive about the economic and financial outlook in 2015. Twenty-five per cent of Taiwanese respondents to MRINetwork affiliate, MRIC Group's 2015 Talent Report, indicated they felt positive about prospects for 2015, a nine per centage point increase from the previous year's report.
The unemployment rate increased in Japan, jumping from 3.4 per cent to 3.6 per cent. As the country's economy recovers, more people are looking to return to the workforce, therefore increasing competition and raising the jobless average, explained the Nikkei Asian Review.
Throughout the Americas, employment varied greatly from country to country. Despite some nations experiencing positive growth, other regions saw their labour situations decline.
Recent data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed the country's employment situation continued its positive growth trend with the unemployment rate dropping slightly to 5.5 per cent as almost 300,000 positions were added. Most of the gains were seen in the food services, construction, business services, healthcare and transportation and warehousing industries. Declines were seen in the mining sector.
Brazil's unemployment rate recently experienced a significant increase, jumping to its highest level in over a year, reported the Wall Street Journal. It hit 5.4 per cent at the start of 2015, much higher than economists' predictions of 5 per cent. The source speculated that this likely occurred as a result of government officials turning their attention to the budget deficit and not maintaining enough of a focus on labour.
This year has been positive for Mexico's employment situation, indicated the Wall Street Journal. Recent numbers show that the nation has an overall jobless rate of 3.8 per cent, down from 4.3 per cent at the end of 2013. This improvement has been felt in the cities, where the cumulative unemployment rate dropped from 5.2 per cent at the end of 2013 to its current jobless rate of 4.4 per cent.