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September 2012 (24.09.2012)

Europe & the Middle East

Unemployment remained flat in July at 10.4 per cent in the European Union for the third month in a row, while revised numbers show unemployment in the euro area has held at 11.3 per cent for two months. After three quarters of successively less total employment, in the second quarter of 2012, total employment euro area remained unchanged. In the European Union, the second quarter saw a 0.1 per cent increase in total employment, after three successive quarters of .1 per cent quarter-over-quarter contraction.

Unemployment in Switzerland rose to 2.9 per cent in August as the government released projections for 1 per cent total GDP growth in 2012 for the country, down from 2.1 in 2011 and 2.7 per cent in 2010. A statement from the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs said that the international economic slowdown had reached Switzerland, but that the country was likely to avoid a full-blown recession as was experienced in 2009 when the economy shrunk 1.9 per cent.

Recent reports from Saudi Arabia show that 380,000 jobs have been created for Saudis over the last 10 months by requiring private firms to employ a percentage of Saudi citizens. Traditionally, nearly 90 per cent of private sector workers in Saudi Arabia have been expatriates, while nine out of every 10 citizens is employed directly by the government. With high youth unemployment rates throughout the Middle East often cited as the root of recent unrest, governments have been scrambling for ways to create millions of new jobs.

Asia & the South Pacific

Total employment in South Korea grew over the last year by 0.2 per cent, adding 364,000 positions. The unemployment rate defied expectations of growth, and remained at 3.1 per cent in August. While the government has been attempting to stimulate the economy, it has held off some potential actions, saving ammunition in case the global economy slows further.

Unemployment in Hong Kong remained stable at 3.2 per cent in the three-month period ending in August, though the underemployment rate crept up from 1.5 to 1.7 per cent. A statement from Labour and Welfare Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung noted that the number of job vacancies is relatively high; employers, however, are taking a more cautious attitude towards hiring.


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