For this blog, I lean heavily on the monthly employment situation summaries from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). But there’s another, more commercial source of employment information out there to which I’d like to point for today’s blog. It’s Manpower, Inc. a global player in the employment services industry. They publish a quarterly Employment Outlook Survey that takes a more global look at the employment situation, that helps to put the US numbers into a more comprehensive context. Their Q4 2009 Manpower Outlook Survey: Global is out, and it has some interesting tales to tell.
For the Americas, the US is at the middle of the pack ahead of Costa Rica and Peu (both down more than 20 percent since this time last year), on par with Argentina, Guatemala, and Mexico (all down 11 percent or more, just like us). Canada is slightly ahead of the US at 9 percent down, while Brazil is way ahead of everybody else, even with its own numbers for last year.
In Asia Pacific, China and Taiwan are the leaders with numbers that are officially flat (though China is down 1 percent and Taiwan down 8 percent when seasonally adjusted factors are taken into account). In that part of the world, Singapore is doing relatively well at 2 percent down, while Australia and New Zealand are down 9 and 8 percent respectively. Other countries in that part of the world are down over 10 percent (Hong Kong, India, and Japan).
In Europe and the Middle East numbers are all over the place. Hungary and Italy are flat, with the UK nearly so (down 1 percent, but at 0 when seasonal adjustments are factored in). Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, and Spain all fall between 3 and 5 percent down, and everybody else fits into two broad camps. Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland all fall between 6 and 9 percent. Other European countries fall between 12 percent (Austria and Greece) to 14 percent (Poland) to South African (?, 16 percent) with Romania bringing up the rear (at a whopping 32 percent).
Overall, this report characterizes US employment as weaker in terms of movement for the coming year, and relatively stable when comparing this quarter to those immediately preceding and succeeding it. What does this mean? We’re down, and can’t expect massive relief any time soon. But then again, things shouldn’t get too much worse looking forward, either. After the roller-coaster ride we’ve had for the past 18 months, maybe this isn’t too bad but it looks like it will be a while before things genuinely start to improve in the US.