Global Job Market: Manpower Report Finds Positives

By Bill Leonard Sep 17, 2012

Even with the economic turmoil in Europe and sluggish growth in the U.S. and Asia, the forecast for the global job market appears to be a bit more upbeat and positive than many experts were predicting.

According to the Manpower Global Employment Outlook Survey for the fourth quarter of 2012, employers in the world’s seven largest economies report that their hiring levels will remain positive through the end of 2012. The survey found that businesses in 22 labor markets around the globe expect to have improved or relatively stable hiring plans for the final three months of 2012 when compared to the previous quarter. But hiring will be at a slower pace when compared to the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first nine months of 2012. Although the pace of hiring is expected to weaken in 26 markets compared to the same period in 2011, the overall hiring outlook for most labor markets included in the survey remains positive.

“If the uncertainties of the debt crisis in Europe, a slowdown in China, the U.S. presidential election and health care costs keep building, we will see the global labor market’s slow, steady hiring mode shift to a pause,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup, in a press release. “I think that we’re seeing the beginning of that in the data for India with employers not shedding staff, but downshifting hiring until they see more positive signals. On the other hand, in the U.S., employers remain confident enough to maintain the same steady hiring pace seen over the past year.”

ManpowerGroup’s global research found that employers in Taiwan, India, Panama, Brazil, Turkey and Peru are the most upbeat about adding staff during the final quarter of 2012. Greece, Italy, Finland, Ireland, Spain, Slovakia, Netherlands, Czech Republic and Poland were the only job markets in the study where employers planned to cut jobs.

“Despite the continued challenges in the eurozone, the French, German and British labor markets are exhibiting some resiliency and that’s a positive sign,” Joerres said in the release. “On the other hand, our research reveals a weakening trend across eurozone manufacturing with hiring in that sector set to slow in 17 of 24 countries. This projected slowdown is most evident in Poland, where twice as many employers are expecting to lay off workers as compared to three months ago.”

In the Americas, hiring plans remain positive across all 10 countries surveyed by ManpowerGroup. Employers in Panama, Brazil and Peru have the most positive hiring outlooks for the fourth quarter, while businesses in Argentina report that their hiring plans will be weaker than 2011 and the first part of 2012. The hiring outlooks in the U.S. and Mexico are below historical averages but still remain stronger than forecasts from the past five years.

In the Asia/Pacific region, ManpowerGroup researchers found that the fourth-quarter hiring expectations are positive in all the surveyed labor markets. The report found that employers in Taiwan, India and New Zealand have the strongest hiring plans, while Australia has the region’s weakest job market prospects.

“The positive outlook from Taiwan is being fueled by strong job prospects in the services sector, where nearly half of employers expect to add employees in the final quarter of this year,” Joerres said in the release. “We are, however, seeing declines in hiring within the manufacturing sectors across every labor market. Notably, Chinese manufacturers’ appetite to hire is the weakest in three years as they now struggle with low demand from European markets and also with skill shortages and labor disputes over wages.”

Bill Leonard is senior writer for SHRM.

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