December 2017 saw Atos enhance the footprint of their IT Services firm by paying $5 billion for Gemalto. Apple were busy, paying $400 million for music recognition app Shazam plus they invested $390 million into optical communications components company Finisar. Finally, in a relatively quiet M&A month Ingram Micro increased its data protection capability through the purchase of Cloud Harmonics.
The Canadian economy had some positive indicators, adding jobs and reducing the unemployment rate to 5.9%. The US also continued its growth rate, albeit at a slightly reduced pace although the announced tax changes for business are going to provide a significant stimulus. Generally, reports from around the globe were fairly positive, with job growth and reduced unemployment in most countries.
There was a cautionary report about ransomware in Canada that might suggest up to 44% of SMBs were hit with ransomware in a 12 month period.
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The latest survey from data protection provider Datto of its managed security service provider customers in Canada gives some insight into the depth of the problem of ransomware here. According to the survey of just over 200 providers, small and medium-sized businesses here paid out $5.7 million to attackers in the 12 months that ended in Q2 2017. If the survey is representative of all SMBs in Canada, about four per cent of small to medium-sized businesses were hit by ransomware during the study period.
Worldwide spending on mobility solutions is forecast to reach $1.72 trillion in 2021, according to a report from IDC called Worldwide Semiannual Mobility Spending Guide.
The economy – Canada
The Canadian staffing index edged up 3% in November from October to a reading of 123. On a year-over-year basis, the index was up 6% in November. November 2017 had 5% more working days than November 2016. The index value of 123 is the third-highest level recorded, and the highest since the same value was reached in October 2014.
Canada added 79,500 jobs in November from October to a total of more than 18.5 million jobs, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released by Statistics Canada. The number of full-time jobs rose by 29,600 in November while part-time jobs rose by 49,900. The unemployment rate fell to 5.9% in November, down from 6.3% in October and the lowest rate since February 2008.
Statistics Canada reported growth in real gross domestic product slowed to 0.4% in the third quarter of 2017, following a 1.0% increase in the second quarter. However, when expressed at an annualized rate, real GDP rose 1.7% in the third quarter; in comparison, real GDP in the US rose at an annualized rate of 3.3% in the third quarter.
The economy – US
IT job growth is at its lowest level in years, according to the TechServe Alliance. It reported the number of IT jobs in the US grew by 0.1% sequentially in November to more than 5.3 million; on a year-over-year basis, the increase was 1.8%. Referencing US Immigration policy, TechServe Alliance said, “Without access to an adequate domestic supply of talent, the ability to grow the US IT workforce is significantly diminished, causing more work to be pushed offshore — an unfortunate outcome for US-based businesses as well as IT professionals that would otherwise make up part of the US-based team.”
TechServe Alliance reported that engineering employment in the US rose by 0.2% sequentially in November to almost 2.6 million jobs. The increase was 1.6% on a year-over-year basis.
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in November but at a slower pace than October, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers index for US manufacturing. November’s index reading was 58.2, down from October’s reading of 58.7.
Economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics maintained their growth projections for the US economy in 2017. The median forecast calls real GDP growth of 2.2% this year, unchanged from the September 2017 estimate. However, the economists slightly increased the median forecast for real GDP growth in 2018 to 2.5%, up from 2.4% in the September estimate. Real GDP grew 1.6% in 2016
Economic activity in the US nonmanufacturing sector expanded in November at a slower rate than in October, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index. ISM’s nonmanufacturing index fell in November to a reading of 57.4 from October’s reading of 60.1. November’s reading represents continued growth in the nonmanufacturing sector but at a slower rate.
US private-sector employment rose by 190,000 jobs in November from October, according to the ADP National Employment Report. The increase follows a gain of 235,000 in the previous month.
For years, solution providers have complained about the country’s antiquated tax system, arguing that it hampered their ability to reinvest in their businesses and add jobs. Christmas came early for those solution providers when Congress passed a long-awaited Republican bill that cuts the corporate tax from 35 percent to 21 percent. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act represents the largest one-time reduction in U.S. history and slashes an estimated $1.46 trillion in overall tax collections by the government.
The Conference Board’s US Employment Trends Index fell in November after a sharp increase in October. The index now stands at a level of 135.88, down from October’s revised level of 136.23. However, the index is up on a year-over-year basis in November by 4.7%.
Chief information officers in the US plan more hiring in the first half of 2018 than a year ago, according to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Forecast and Local Trend Report. The survey found 21% of CIOs in the US plan to add full-time technology professionals to their teams in the first six months of the year, a five-point increase from one year ago at this time.
US real gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 3.2% in the third quarter, according to the third estimate of GDP growth released by the US Commerce Department. The new estimate is down slightly from the previous estimate that pegged growth at 3.3%; it reflects downward revisions to personal consumption expenditures, but the general picture of economic growth remains the same. Reuters reported growth of 3.2% is still at the fastest rate since the first quarter of 2015.
The economy – Outside North America
The registered unemployment rate in Switzerland for November 2017 stood at 3.1%, down from 3.3% in the same time last year, according to survey data from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). Compared with the same month of the previous year, unemployment fell by 11,911 persons, or 8%.
Non-agricultural employment in the Netherlands rose by 8,400 jobs in the month of November, according to the ADP Netherlands Employment Report.
Employment rose by 22,000 in Australia during November, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported. Full-time employment rose by 15,000 persons, and part-time employment rose by 7,000. Australia’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.4% in November.
The Economic Times reports 9% of India’s 600 million estimated workforce will be deployed in new jobs that do not exist today by the year 2022, citing a FICCI-NASSCOM & EY Future of Jobs report. Thirty-seven percent of the Indian workforce could be employed in new job roles.
The euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate stood at 8.8% in October 2017, down from 9.8% in October 2016. This is the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since January 2009, according to figures from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat’s figures also showed that the EU28 unemployment rate was 7.4% in October 2017, down from 8.3% in October 2016. This is the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since November 2008. Among the member states, the lowest unemployment rates in October 2017 were recorded in the Czech Republic (2.7%), Malta (3.5%) and Germany (3.6%). The highest unemployment rates were observed in Greece (20.6% in August 2017) and Spain (16.7%).
Japan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.8% in October, down from 3.0% last year and unchanged from the previous month, according to data from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
Employers in Slovenia expect to create 16,500 jobs, or expand their workforce by 2.6%, during the first half of 2018, according to data from the Employment Service of Slovenia. Eurostat figures showed the Slovenian unemployment rate for October stood at 6.2%.
UK private sector growth increased 6% in the three months to November, year-on-year, according to the latest Growth Indicator from the Confederation of British Industry.
The jobless rate in Thailand rose by 1.3% in October when compared to last year, reports The Nation with data from the National Statistics Office Thailand. The number of unemployed persons grew to 481,000 in October from last year, an increase of 31,000.
Ireland’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for November 2017 was 6.1%, down from 7.5% in November 2016, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office. The seasonally adjusted number of persons unemployed was 138,100 in November 2017, a decrease of 29,000 when compared to November 2016.
The labour market in Singapore continued to improve in the third quarter of 2017 according to the Ministry of Manpower. The drop in total employment in the third quarter was lower than that in the two previous quarters, and affected mostly foreign workers. As a result, growth in local employment is likely to remain positive. The seasonally adjusted overall unemployment rate stood at 2.2%, unchanged from the previous quarter.
UK businesses remain pessimistic about the 2018 economy, according to data from the latest Jobs Outlook survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation. None of the employers polled think economic conditions in the UK will be less challenging in 2018 than in 2017. However, 51% think economic conditions in 2018 will be more challenging than this year with the remaining 49% thinking it will remain the same.
As demand for data protection skyrockets, Ingram Micro has acquired a next-generation security distributor that brings the Palo Alto Networks security platform to its U.S. and Canadian line card. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Cloud Harmonics maintains relationships with top vendors – such as Aruba Networks, Arista Networks, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Nutanix – and multiple emerging security vendors, including Imperva, Infoblox, Menlo Security, and ScienceLogic.
Paris-based IT services firm Atos has made an offer to purchase Amsterdam-based Gemalto for $5.05 billion to create an industry bellwether around cybersecurity and digital services. “We believe that a combination of Atos and Gemalto would result in enhanced global leadership in cybersecurity, digital technologies and services and in the strengthening of our positioning as a leading European payment services provider,” Thierry Breton, Atos’ chairman and CEO.
Apple’s acquisition of Shazam is without a doubt big news for Europe’s striving startup scene. What’s less clear is whether it’s good news or bad news. Founded in 2004, in the pre-iPhone era, Shazam represents a remarkable tale of endurance. But just three years ago, the company was reportedly on track for a $1.2 billion IPO as its music-recognition app passed the 100 million download mark. Then, just a few months later, there was talk that the IPO had been pushed back to 2015. Instead, the company raised $30 million in a Series F funding round in February 2015, bringing its total funding to $143.5 million.
Apple Inc. is investing $390 million into a California-based company that produces optical communication components, which will boost the power of iPhone X features such as Face ID, animoji and portrait mode selfies.