Staffing giant Manpower has released its forecasts for employment conditions for the first quarter of 2011. They are optimistic, and in some cases ebullient.
“Data reveals improved hiring expectations from 12 months ago in 28 of 39 countries and territories,” the study says. This includes France, Italy, Germany, the US, UK, Canada, and Japan. Of course, labor additions in China and India are expected to be impressive. “India, China, Taiwan, Brazil, Turkey and Singapore reporting the strongest hiring plans”. Nations with economies which are already crippled will almost certainly continue to shed jobs. “Employers in Greece, the Czech Republic, Austria, Ireland, Spain and Romania report the weakest and only negative forecasts globally.”
The study does not tell anything that most educated people around the world already know. The US and other developed nations are supposed to stage modest economic recoveries next year. China’s growth rate never stopped despite the deepest recession in eight years. Countries with huge deficits which have begun to implement austerity measure are still in deep trouble.
The Manpower study neglects the discussion of what austerity programs might do to employment levels in nations like the UK and Japan. The British government has already announced that it will have to lay-off nearly 400,000 public workers. Japan’s yen valuation problem may be so severe for so long that major corporations there cannot remain profitable with current worker levels.
The Manpower forecast also avoids a conversation about the recent US jobless numbers and statements by the Federal Reserve Chairman that the economy is too weak to create many new jobs.
The effect on China of a significant deceleration in the US economy–or perhaps another recession–are also not taken into account. China’s export machine still relies heavily on US imports. The American economy and arguments over trade and currency valuations could harm the Chinese employment situation. The reluctance of the Chinese middle classes to mimic the consumer behavior of the middle class in American half a century ago may cause trouble, too
Manpower, in other words, may have a prediction that is well off the mark.
Douglas A. McIntyre