Article By Hal Weitzman, Financial Times
Job creation across the world is set to slow in the first three months of next year as companies scale back hiring in response to global economic uncertainty, according to a leading survey of employers.
The Employment Outlook survey, to be released on Tuesday, will be unwelcome news for policymakers struggling to bring down stubbornly high unemployment rates.
The report, which questioned about 65,000 employers in 41 countries, suggests that while companies in most regions plan to hire workers in the first quarter of 2012, they lack the confidence in future demand to pick up, or even maintain, the present sluggish pace of jobs growth.
A majority of employers in 31 of the 41 countries surveyed said they intended to take on new workers in the first quarter. However, in 30 countries most companies said the pace of hiring would slow compared with the present quarter, while in 23 countries job creation looks set to be weaker in the first three months of 2012 compared with the first quarter this year.
In the U.S., the number of companies planning to hire workers outweighs those intending to cut jobs by 9 percentage points on a seasonally adjusted basis, the most positive hiring outlook the survey has recorded since 2008.
However, the report also found a high level of employer uncertainty, with 7 percent of companies saying they were unsure of their hiring intentions, up from 3 percent this quarter – the biggest quarterly increase since 1977 and the highest percentage of employer uncertainty since 2005.
While Brazilian employers have strong hiring plans, there are also signs that the drop-off in the South American giant’s economic growth will hit job creation. “Employer optimism in Brazil’s typically strong manufacturing sector is noticeably softer,” said Mr Joerres. “Machinery orders are down and the industry is feeling the effects of increased pressure from imports, and jobseekers there will likely see a lull in demand for their talents.”
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