Philanthropists Gerald Schwartz and Heather Reisman have made a $100 million donation to the University of Toronto to build a new Schwartz Reisman Innovation Centre to advance disruptive technologies, the university says. The centre will attract other AI experts and help to spark additional AI-based innovations. It will also bring together scholars from an array of disciplines to study the implications of AI in today’s world.
The economy – Canada
The Canadian staffing index, which measures staffing activity in Canada, fell 6% in February on a year-over-year basis to a reading of 89. The index value is 6% below its value a year ago.
The Canadian economy will expand 1.4% in 2019, according to The Conference Board of Canada. A turnaround in business investment is required to push the economy to 2.0% growth next year, according to the Canadian Outlook: Spring 2019 Report. "The weak growth that was evident at the end of 2018 is expected to persist into the first half of 2019," said Matthew Stewart, director of economics at The Conference Board of Canada.
Canadian employment rose by 36,200 jobs in February from January, according to the ADP Canada national employment report.
Canadian employers expect a moderate hiring climate and modest gains in employment, according to the second-quarter Manpower Employment Outlook Survey, released by ManpowerGroup Inc. (NYSE: MAN). Canadian organizations plan to add staff across all 10 industry sectors in the second quarter.
Canada’s real gross domestic product edged up 0.1% in the fourth quarter, the slowest pace since the second quarter of 2016, Statistics Canada reported. Expressed at an annualized rate, real GDP edged up 0.4% in the fourth quarter. For the full year, annual growth was 1.8% for 2018, down from a 3.0% increase in 2017; in comparison, real GDP in the US rose at an annualized rate of 2.9%.
Employment in Canada rose by approximately 55,900 in February from January as an increase in full-time employment offset a decrease in part-time jobs, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released by Statistics Canada. Ontario was the sole province with a notable employment gain. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.8%.
The economy – US
CEOs now expect 2019 US gross domestic product growth of 2.5%, down from their estimate of 2.7% made in the fourth quarter, according to the Business Roundtable’s first-quarter 2019 CEO Economic Outlook Survey.
IT employment in the US ticked down slightly in February from January, the TechServe Alliance announced. The number of IT jobs in the US edged down to about 5.35 million jobs, 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 0.27% in February with 14,300 more IT workers than the previous year.
The TechServe Alliance also measures engineering employment, which edged up by 0.17% in February from January. Engineering employment rose 2.51% on a year-over-year basis, an increase of 64,700 engineering workers.
The US economy will likely continue to expand in the near term, The Conference Board forecasts in its US Leading Economic Index. The index in February increased for the first time in five months. February’s index reading rose 0.2% to 111.5 (2016 = 100). That follows no change in January, and a 0.1% decline in December.
Private-sector employment in the US rose by 183,000 in February, according to the ADP National Employment Report. This is a decline from the 300,000 jobs added in January and the smallest gain since November, when the report found a gain of 136,000 jobs.
Job openings should remain high through the second quarter, with hiring particularly strong in the industrial sector, according to a survey released by Express Employment Professionals.
US consumer Confidence declined in March, driven by consumers’ assessment of current business and labour market conditions, according to The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index. The decrease followed an increase in the index in February, the first increase in four months. The index fell to a reading of 121.4 (1985=100) in March, down from 131.4 in February.
US private-sector output growth slowed in March to the second-lowest level recorded over the last year, with manufacturing firms experiencing a particularly subdued end to the first quarter of 2019, according to the IHS Markit Flash US Purchasing Managers Index.
Economists raised their estimate for job gains this year but expect a slowdown in 2020, according to the first-quarter Survey of Professional Forecasters from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The projections for the annual average level of nonfarm payroll employment now suggest job gains at a monthly rate of 191,800 in 2019, up from the previous estimate of 181,900.
Economists surveyed by the National Association for Business Economics lowered their prior growth projections for the US economy in 2019. The median forecast now calls for real GDP growth of 2.4% on an annual basis this year, down from the December 2018 forecast of 2.7%. For 2020, respondents predict a 2.0% annual growth rate in real GDP. In 2018, real GDP increased 2.9% on an annual basis.
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February at a slower pace than in January, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers index for US manufacturing. February’s index reading registered 54.2, down from January’s reading of 56.6 and its lowest level in more than two years; however, a reading above 50% generally indicates improving conditions.
US hiring managers’ and human resource professionals’ hiring plans for 2019 are on par with last year’s, according to CareerBuilder’s 2019 US job forecast. Forty percent of employers plan to hire full-time, permanent employees in 2019, down from 44% who said the same in a separate survey for 2018. And 47% plan to recruit part-time, contract or temporary workers, down from 51% in last year’s survey.
Economic activity in the US nonmanufacturing sector accelerated in February, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s nonmanufacturing index. ISM’s nonmanufacturing index rose to a reading of 59.7 in February, up from a reading of 56.7 in January. Readings above 50 generally indicate improving conditions. According to the index, all 18 non-manufacturing industries reported growth.
Employment increased in most of the country in late January and February, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book. Labor markets remained tight for all skill levels, including notable worker shortages for positions relating to information technology, manufacturing, trucking, restaurants and construction.
The Conference Board’s US Employment Trends Index increased in February following a decline in January. The index rose to a reading of 111.15 in February from a downwardly revised reading of 109.34 in January. However, the year-over-year change remains positive at 4.3%.
Demand for skilled talent continues to grow as US employers report double-digit hiring intentions for the seventh consecutive year, according to the second-quarter Manpower Employment Outlook Survey. US labor market optimism continues as unemployment remains low and employers add workers.
Workers’ confidence in the US remained relatively stable in the fourth quarter. After rebounding during the third quarter to its highest level since early 2017, staffing provider Yoh and HRO Today magazine reported their quarterly Worker Confidence index rose 2.6 points on a year-over-year basis to a level of 107.1 in the fourth quarter; however, the index edged down 0.3 points from the prior quarter.
US real gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 2.2% in the fourth quarter, according to the third estimate of GDP growth released today by the US Commerce Department. The new estimate is down from the previous estimate of 2.6%.
The economy – Outside Canada and the United States
The unemployment rate in January for the OECD‘s 36 member countries was stable at 5.3% in January 2019, according to the OECD’s "Harmonised Unemployment Rates" report. However, the number of unemployed people rose for the fourth straight month to 34 million as more entered the labour force.
It’s slower growth ahead for the global economy, according to the "Interim Economic Outlook" released by the OECD. Major risks persist, and European growth is slower than expected. The global economy is expected to grow 3.3% this year and 3.4% in 2020, but those projections are down from the previous report in November. Downward revisions are particularly significant in the euro area, especially in Germany and Italy, as well as for the UK, Canada and Turkey.
Employers’ confidence in the UK economy fell 8% for the quarter ended February 2019, when compared to the previous quarter. At the same time, employers’ confidence in making hiring and investment decisions declined by 6%, according to the latest JobsOutlook survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation. REC’s data showed that employers’ confidence in the prospects for the UK economy stood at a net -28, the lowest level since the JobsOutlook survey began measuring sentiment about the economy amongst UK businesses.
Immigration to the UK for work has fallen to its lowest level since 2014, according to data from the Office of National Statistics. Data from the ONS showed that immigration to the UK for work-related reasons stood at an estimated 231,000 persons in the 12 months ending September 2018. The fall in work-related immigration was driven by a decline in EU citizens coming to the UK.
Ireland must dramatically increase its supply of engineering graduates and apprentices, according to a report by Engineers Ireland. More than 6,000 openings for engineering jobs are expected this year, and 94% of engineering employers consider a shortage of experienced engineers to be a barrier to growth with almost half expecting the situation to get worse this year.
The unemployment rate in the European Union in January fell to its lowest since January 2000, according to seasonally adjusted numbers from Eurostat. The unemployment rate was 6.5% last month, down from 7.3% in January 2018.
The number of employed persons in Germany rose by 1.1% in January compared with the same month last year according to the German federal statistical office. The year-over-year rate of change was similar to the previous two months. In total, 44.7 million were employed in Germany during January. The unemployment rate was 3.4% in January, down from 3.6% in January 2018. The unemployment rate in December was 3.1%.
Mexican employers report relatively stable hiring intentions in the second quarter when compared to the previous year, according to the second-quarter Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate in Australia fell to 4.9% in February 2019, down 0.6% when compared to the same period the previous year, and the lowest since 2011 according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Taiwan’s seasonally unemployment rate stood at 3.71% in February 2019, down 0.01% from the previous month, according to the latest manpower survey results from the Directorate-General Budget, Accounting and Statistics. On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rate was up by 0.08% to 3.72% in February 2019.
Japan’s unemployment rate fell by 0.2% to 2.3% in February 2019 when compared to the same period last year, according to Statistics Japan.
Hong Kong’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.8% for the period from December 2018 to February 2019, same as that for the period from November 2018 – January 2019, according to the latest data from the country’s Census and Statistics Department.
Malaysia‘s labour market conditions are expected to be stable, according to a report from the Central Bank of Malaysia. The economy, which expanded at a rate of 4.7% in 2018 (2017: 5.9%), is projected to grow 4.3% to 4.8% this year. In 2018, employment growth stood at 2.5% (2017: 2.0%) while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.4%.
China’s unemployment rate rose to 5.3% in January and February from 4.9% in December according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The rate in the first two months of the year is the highest since hitting 5.4% in February 2017. The unemployment rise comes as the growth of industrial production fell to its lowest rate in a decade of 5.3% in January, and down from 5.7% growth in December.