The Manpower Employment Outlook Survey for Q3 2012 examines hiring plans across the world. The research covers more than 65,000 human resources and senior managers. An analysis of the data concludes that, in a majority of countries and territories surveyed, third-quarter hiring activity is expected to be less than last year at this time. The research reveals few clear signs of notable traction in the labor market. Employers evidently are adopting an intermittent hiring approach in response to economic uncertainty, both at home and abroad.
The recession in Europe and the economic slowdown in the United States and large developing nations has started to manifest itself in the labor markets. The Manpower research showed specifically that hiring expectations in 26 of 41 the countries and territories polled has weakened when compared to second quarter of 2011.
Of course, the brunt of the bad news came from the economically weakest nations in Europe. But the shock was the flagging expectations of job additions in Brazil, China, Germany, Hong Kong and Singapore compared to a year ago. These countries are supposed to be at the heart of global GDP recovery. If employment outlooks are any signal, these economies are not in recovery at all.
One unique factor of the Manpower data is that they look forward, instead of considering the current situation or what has just passed. National jobless reports are always a month or two old when they are reported. Once revisions are made, another month can be added on to that. In other words, unemployment numbers issued by countries are out of date.
Almost all expectations for the balance of 2012, for the majority of regions that comprise the global economy, are that GDP growth will slow or reverse itself. The OECD’s most recent report on its member countries was depressing. The Manpower numbers serve to confirm those expectations.
Douglas A. McIntyre