The last decade has seen a recession and an attendant stark rise in unemployment. Lately things appear to be picking up, but some of the hardest hit countries are particularly slow to recover. Have the slow recovery and the relatively dim prospects – compared to 10 years ago – served to demoralise entire nations? Gallup recently polled people all over the world, asking this pressing question – “Thinking about the job situation in the city or area you live today, would you say that it’s now a good time or a bad time to find a job?”
The employment outlook around the world still appears to be rather dismal, at best. More than half of the adults polled believe that it’s still a bad time to find a job, and many countries are still faced with high unemployment rates while others struggle with staggering rates of under-employment. The European Union is the most pessimistic, (only 17% think it’s a good time to find a job) while the Americas are the most optimistic (41%). And no, the United States isn’t in the top 10 most optimistic (the US came in right above El Salvador who polled at 37% optimistic). Instead, a few other countries you probably never would have considered made the list as feeling most optimistic about their job prospects in the difficult time that is 2014.
10. Peru – 42% Optimistic
Peru has an unemployment rate of about 5.9%, which isn’t dire by international standards. According to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey completed back in March 2014, many employers anticipated a growth in new jobs, especially in the construction, mining and finance fields. For those working in finance, insurance and real estate, they will find a fertile hiring environment, while those in the construction sector will see an increase of 21 percentage points from the previous quarter. The construction and real estate sector are seeing an increase in jobs because of increased office and business developments in San Isidro and Surco, along with shopping malls in Lima.
9. Colombia – 42% Optimistic
Colombia might not be the first country we’d think of when we consider an optimistic attitude about job growth, but the country has seen some growth within the last year or so – specifically in the transportation and utilities, finance, insurance and real estate sectors. Other areas weren’t looking so strong in 2013/2014 however – namely agriculture and fishing, which saw a sharp decline in hiring. In the 2013 Colombian Employment Outlook Survey by Manpower, it was noted that there were many social and political situations that affected the markets, so in some ways it’s surprising that their level of optimism is so high.
8. Trinidad and Tobago – 43% Optimistic
Trinidad and Tobago is listed as one of the top 66 countries with the highest income in the world, and it’s easily one of the most developed nations in the Caribbean. The OECD has removed Trinidad and Tobago from their list of Developing Countries in 2011, and the country has a strong climate for investment opportunities. Along with investments in liquefied natural gas, petrochemicals, and steel, the country is also a financial center. Tourism is a growing sector, though it isn’t nearly as significant a feature of the economy as it is for many other Caribbean islands.
7. Bolivia – 45% Optimistic
Historically, Bolivia has had a single-commodity focus, their geography and low population growth not allowing for many industries to flourish. The country has a wealth of minerals and natural resources which have shaped most of its economic history – including tin, antimony, gold, iron, natural gas, petroleum, tungsten, and zinc. Along with coca (the leaf that produces cocaine), other viable exports include soybeans, cotton, coffee and sugarcane, and for domestic consumption, corn, wheat and potatoes.
6. Chile – 46% Optimistic
Chile is regarded as one of South America’s most stable nations, and it also happens to be one of the region’s fastest-growing economies. From 2011 to 2013, Chile added 660,000 jobs and some economists stated that they believed Chile had reached full employment. Of course, most of these jobs were part-time, not full-time, which raises some questions about the quality of the employment. Chile has a major shortage of skilled professionals in some sectors, specifically the mining sector.
5. Canada – 47% Optimistic
Canada maintained a relatively strong economic climate in the face of the worldwide economic crisis, and the current job prospects reflect this. According to the Manpower Employment Outcome Survey, about 20% of employers surveyed planned to increase their staffing levels by the third quarter of 2014, while only 4% anticipated cutbacks. The sectors expecting to see the largest growth include transportation and public utilities. Other sectors that can expect to do well include public administration, construction, and manufacturing – durables, education, finance, insurance and real estate. It’s little wonder that Canadians are feeling optimistic about things these days.
4. Mexico – 47% Optimistic
Mexico’s hiring will likely remain steady in the third quarter of 2014, which doesn’t sound either good or bad. However, one thing to note is that the employers in the west and southeast regions have reported the most optimistic hiring prospects since they were first analyzed back in 2003, so things are looking up for Mexico. Some sectors are expected to do very well in coming years, which have the Mexican people feeling more optimistic than most other countries in the world. The segments with the most potential for growth include agriculture and fishing, construction, and the service industry.
3. Paraguay – 47% Optimistic
Urban unemployment has been a problem throughout Paraguay’s history due to lacking the sort of mineral resources that many other South American countries have. But in recent years, the economy has grown thanks to an increase in agricultural exports like soybeans. In fact, agriculture is what currently dominates the economy in Paraguay. There are still obstacles to future growth but since the 1980s, there has been some economic expansion thanks to hydroelectric plants as well as road construction which now connects Paraguay to the Atlantic coast through Brazil.
2. Brazil – 49% Optimistic
While the employment outlook is weaker than it has been in the last couple of years, Brazil still expects to see fairly decent growth. One in four employers have reported that they plan to add to their payrolls within the next few months. The gains in each sector may not be as high as in the past, but there will still be opportunities for Brazilian job seekers in industries such as finance, real estate, insurance, trade and retail.
1. Panama – 60% Optimistic
Panama is the only country on this list where more than half of the population remains optimistic about job prospects for their country. And part of the reason for this is that large projects such as metro, road realignment and widening of the Canal brought in jobs. This growth is expected to continue into 2014 and beyond. While there’s expected to be job growth in all of the industry sectors, transportation and communication sectors seem to be the strongest. Panama also expects to see strong hiring activity in the construction, agriculture, fishing, mining and extraction sectors.