After Months Of Layoffs, Labour Market Is Stabilising In Some Countries

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Comparing figures for quarter 2 of 2020 to the same quarter in 2019, unemployment in Australia increased by 1.5 percentage points; in Brazil that same figure was 1.6; in Canada, 6; in Chile, 5.5; Columbia, 9; and United States, 8.5. The relevant statistics for countries such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, France and Italy show greater resilience.

It is evident that the United States and Canada experienced a significant disruption on an unprecedented scale. Employment figures for the United States show that the unemployment rate rose from 3.5% in February 2020 to peak at 14.7% in April 2020. The unemployment rate for the United States has now dropped to stand closer to 10%. In

contrast, during the Global Financial Crisis in 2009 the unemployment rate in the United States rose from 4.7% in December 2007 to nearly 10% by June 2009.

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In two months the Covid-19 pandemic has destroyed more jobs than the Great Recession did in two years. As the United States has lifted restrictions on the physical movement of people, some workers have been recalled into employment while others have seen temporary redundancies become permanent job displacement.

While many workers moved into unemployment during the period of mid-March to the end of July hiring rates also remained low, reflecting business reluctance to invest in new personnel. This means that workers displaced from the labour market have fewer opportunities to return to work as businesses reduce their workforce. This trend can be observed through data from the professionals on the LinkedIn platform, which allows the LinkedIn Economic Graph team to track changes in hiring rates for seven key economies-Australia, China, France, Italy, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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In China, for instance, hiring contracted to a low of 47% year-on-year rate at the end of February. In France and Italy, the contraction was more pronounced, reaching 70% and 64.5%, respectively, in mid-April. Those low figures were approached by the United Kingdom and Australia, where contractions reached a relatively more robust 40%.

Since then, hiring rates have gradually rebounded, with most of the seven key economies tracked by these metrics trending towards a 0% year-on-year change. By 1 July, China, France and the United States had seen the most recovery in comparative hiring rates, at -6% or -7%. By the end of September the countries with the strongest recovery in hiring were China (22%), Brazil (13%), Singapore (8%) and France (5%). In those economies it appears that hiring is now compensating for the months in which new personnel were not engaged, indicating some stabilisation of the labour market.

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