The skills gap is widening and tightening the job market, according to the Society for Human Resource Management’s 2019 State of the Workplace report. According to one survey used in the report, 52% of HR professionals said that the skills gap has worsened or greatly worsened in the past two years. Additionally, 83% said they have noticed a decrease in the quality of job applicants, with one-third citing a lack of needed technical skills. The gap is evident in the trades, middle-skilled positions and highly skilled STEM positions, according to the report. Carpentry, plumbing, welding and machining are the technical abilities most lacking in the workforce. Data analysis, science, engineering, medical and finance talent is also in short supply.
Economy – Canada
Employment in Canada rose by approximately 66,800 in January from December with Ontario leading growth and the number of private-sector workers jumping, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from Statistics Canada. Total employment was almost 18.9 million. Canada’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 5.8% in January from 5.6% in December. Adjusted to US concepts, Canada’s unemployment rate was 4.8% in January compared with 4.0% in the US.
The Canadian staffing index, which measures staffing activity in Canada, fell 4% in January on a year-over-year basis to a reading of 102. However, the index was up 13% compared to December.
Employment in Canada rose by 35,400 jobs in January, according to the ADP Canada National Employment Report. However, the December decline in total of jobs was revised downward to a loss of 20,900 jobs from the previously reported loss of 13,000 jobs. The ADP Research Institute produces the report in close collaboration with Moody’s Analytics Inc. Derived from ADP payroll data, the report measures the change in total nonfarm payroll employment each month on a seasonally adjusted basis.
Economy – US
US real GDP grew at an annual rate of 2.6% in the fourth quarter, according to the "initial" estimate of GDP growth released by the US Commerce Department. Real GDP for the US increased 3.4% in the third quarter. For the full year, real GDP increased 2.9% in 2018 from the 2017 annual level, up from an increase of 2.2% in 2017.
US manufacturing activity accelerated in January after an easing of growth in December. The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing purchasing managers index rose to a reading of 56.6 in January, up from December’s two-year low of 54.3. However, all readings above 50 indicate expansion.
The Conference Board’s US Employment Trends Index declined in January following an increase in December; however, the year-over-year change remains positive. The index fell to a reading of 109.56 in January from a downwardly revised reading of 110.96 in December.
Employment momentum in the US tech sector rebounded in January, according to CompTIA’s analysis of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment situation report, released earlier this month. The nonprofit IT industry association found the tech sector in January added an estimated 11,200 jobs.
Economic activity in the US nonmanufacturing sector decelerated in January, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index. ISM’s nonmanufacturing index fell to a reading of 56.7 in January, down from a reading of 58.0 in December. Readings above 50 generally indicate improving conditions.
US GDP will likely decelerate to about 2% by the end of 2019, The Conference Board forecasts in its US Leading Economic Index. The index has now been flat essentially since October 2018. January’s index reading edged down 0.1% to 111.3 (2016 = 100). That follows no change in December, and a 0.1% increase in November.
IT employment in the US barely eked out a small gain in January from December, the TechServe Alliance announced. The number of IT jobs in the US edged up to total of about 5.35 million, according to the group, which serves as the national trade association of the IT and engineering staffing and solutions industry. However, on a year-over-year basis, IT employment was still up by 0.40% in January with 21,300 more IT workers than the previous year.
The TechServe Alliance also measures engineering employment, which edged up by 0.17% in January from December. Engineering employment rose 2.62% on a year-over-year basis, an increase of 67,300 engineering workers.
US private sector output growth regained momentum in February, with a robust upturn in service-sector activity more than offsetting the slowdown reported by manufacturing firms, according to the IHS Markit Flash US Purchasing Managers Index. The rate of employment growth accelerated sharply from the 19-month low seen in January.
Consumer Confidence rebounded in February after three months of consecutive declines, according to The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. Consumers continue to view both business and labor market conditions favorably. The index rose to a reading of 131.4 (1985=100), up from 121.7 in January.
Economy – outside Canada and USA
The OECD announced that the overall unemployment rate stood at 5.2% in December 2018, stable compared to the previous month. Across the OECD countries, 33.4 million people were unemployed.
ManpowerGroup published its Total Workforce Index today with its rankings led by three APAC markets: Hong Kong, New Zealand and Singapore. The markets that rank highest in the Total Workforce Index are those with the best relative performance across all four categories: Availability, Cost Efficiency, Regulation and Productivity.
The euro area (EA19) seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate stood at 7.9% in December 2018, down from 8.6% in December 2017. This remains the lowest rate recorded in the euro area since October 2008, according to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union.
The EU28 unemployment rate was 6.6% in December 2018, down from 7.2% in December 2017. This remains the lowest rate recorded in the EU28 since the start of the EU monthly unemployment series in January 2000.
Employment grew by 1.2% in both the euro area and the EU28 in the fourth quarter of 2018 when compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, according to data from Eurostat, the statistical office of the EU. Data from Eurostat also showed that employment over the whole year 2018 rose by 1.4% in the euro area and by 1.3% in the EU28 when compared to 2017. When compared to the third quarter of 2018, employment increased by 0.3% in the euro area and by 0.2% in the EU28.
Employers’ confidence in the UK economy fell 6% in the quarter ending January 2019, when compared to the previous quarter. At the same time, employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions declined by 3%. Both barometers reached the lowest level recorded since June 2016, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s latest JobsOutlook survey. The net score for employer confidence stood at -20 while the score for employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions tumbled to net 5.
Permanent placements in the UK have fallen for first time in two-and-a-half-years in January 2019 amid concerns over Brexit and a further deterioration in candidate availability, according to the latest Report on Jobs from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and KPMG. The report showed that companies were becoming increasingly hesitant to take on new staff due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit. At the same time, panelists also indicated that shortages of candidates had dampened placement numbers.
Demand for professionals in the UK increased by 24% between 2017 and 2018 according to new research undertaken by data publisher Vacancysoft on behalf of the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo). APSCo’s research showed that Q1 and Q2 in 2018 saw the strongest growth with vacancies rising by 35% and 41% respectively. In contrast, demand for talent grew by just 6% in quarter four which APSCo said was ‘perhaps unsurprising’ given the increasing political turmoil and uncertainty surrounding Brexit which resulted in many employers taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to hiring in the latter months of the year.
Employment has fallen for the first time in four years amid Brexit concerns in Northern Ireland, according to January data from the Ulster Bank Northern Ireland Purchasing Manager Index.
Northern Ireland’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period October-December 2018 was 3.8%, down 0.3% when compared to the previous year according to the latest Labour Force Survey from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. The Northern Ireland unemployment rate is below the UK average of 4.0% and is the fifth lowest rate of the UK regions. The Northern Ireland unemployment was also lower than the Republic of Ireland (5.3%) and the European Union (6.7%) rates for November 2018.
The unemployment rate in India in 2017/2018 stood at 6.1%, according to a report in the Business Standard that cited an official survey withheld by the government. The release of the leaked unemployment rate data, from the National Sample Survey Office, delivers a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi just months before what is expected to be a closely fought general election in India. The New York Times reports that Modi’s government was accused last week of suppressing an official report on the national unemployment rate.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Australia fell by 0.5% in January 2019 to 5.0% when compared to the same period the previous year, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The data from ABS showed that the number of unemployed persons in Australia during December stood at 673,500, this is down 6.9% compared to the previous year.
New Zealand’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 4.3% in the December 2018 quarter, up from 4.0% (revised) last quarter, according to data from Statistics New Zealand.
Singapore‘s overall unemployment rate rose slightly over the quarter from 2.1% in September 2018 to 2.2% in December 2018. It rose from 2.9% to 3.0% for residents and 3.0% to 3.1% for citizens, after holding steady in the previous quarter.
The jobless rate in Malaysia remained at 3.3% in December 2018, steady when compared to December 2017, according to data from Statistics Malaysia. Data from Statistics Malaysia showed that the number of unemployed persons in December 2018 stood at 514,200, up 1.7% against December 2017.
The seasonally-adjusted jobless rate in Taiwan stood at 3.72% in January, up 0.02% from the previous month, according to data from the Directorate General of Budget Accounting and Statistics. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rate dropped 0.02% in January from a month earlier to 3.64%. In January, the number of unemployed fell by 2,000, or 0.43%, from a month earlier to 434,000.
Mexico’s gross domestic product grew at an annualized rate of 1.2% in the fourth quarter, below its 10-year average of 2.2% and a slowdown from a 3.4% increase in the third quarter, according to an economic update by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Turning to jobs, formal-sector employment in Mexico — jobs with government benefits and pensions — grew at an annualized rate of 2.1% in December, still below the 10-year average of 3.2%. The unemployment rate for Mexico was 3.6% in December, slightly higher than last year’s average of 3.4%.