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January 29, 2015


Global News Briefs

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Some Employers Take Blame for Skills Shortage
Daily Commercial News, 1/19/2015                 

A number of Canadian construction employers say their skills shortage falls on their shoulders: Around 53 per cent who responded to the fifth annual Hays Canada Salary Guide said that they believed that the lack of training and development was their own responsibility. The president of Hays Canada, Rowan O'Grady, is also quick to point out that the term skills shortage does still apply in some instances. "There's clearly a skills shortage for specific skill sets, for niche skills sets in Canada, in lots of industries," he states. "If you have some good experience with a reasonable contracting company, you're absolutely going to get a job. At an unskilled level...there's plenty of places in Canada (where) it's difficult to find a job. There's no broad brush stroke on this. You can't say Canada has or hasn't got a skills shortage, it has in certain areas and it doesn't in other areas."


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This is How Fast China's Workforce is Shrinking
CNBC, 1/20/2015

China's working age population fell by 2.44 million to 919.54 million in 2013, marking the second consecutive year of decline, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported. China's shrinking workforce will spur the transformation of the country from "factory to the world" into the "investor to the world," and will create opportunities for other emerging markets such as Indonesia, Philippines and India to enter market segments being vacated by China, including export-oriented manufacturing.


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German Economy at its Strongest in Three Years in 2014

Irish Times, 1/15/2015

Private consumption and trade fuelled a 1.5 per cent expansion of the German economy in 2014, its best performance in three years, thanks to record high employment, rising wages and moderate inflation. “On closer inspection, the German economy was in stall mode for much of the year,” said Ferdinand Fichter of the DIW economic institute in Berlin. “In reality it was only the strong start to 2014 that led to this good result, and that was largely down to a mild winter.” Earlier in the month, Germany reported that it had balanced its budget for the first time since 1969.


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Global Interest

World Bank Cuts Global Forecast for 2015
CNN, 1/14/2015 
In its biannual report, the World Bank forecast the world economy will grow 3.0% this year and 3.3% in 2016, down from its earlier forecast of 3.4% and 3.5%, respectively. The U.S. remains the bright spot on the economic map, with the organization hiking its growth forecast for the country from 3% to 3.2% in 2015. But Europe, Japan, Russia and parts of Latin America are still struggling, the bank said.


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CEOs Losing Faith in Global Economy, Bullish on Their Own Companies
Fortune, 1/20/2015
While CEOs are significantly more pessimistic about the global economy’s growth prospects than they were last year, they remain just as confident that their own company’s revenues will grow, according to PwC’s 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, released at the opening of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland this month.


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Different Demographic Groups Must be Managed Differently
Gallup, 1/20/2015
According to Gallup research into demographics and engagement, factors such as age, generation, gender, education level and tenure all relate to a worker's engagement, as do an employee's job category and industry. Understanding this can make it easier for managers to put people where their engagement has the most potential to flourish.


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United States

Help Wanted: U.S. Job Openings at 14-year High, 1/13/2015
U.S. employers advertised the most job openings in nearly 14 years in November, the Labor Department announced mid-January. That suggests businesses are determined to keep adding staff because they are confident strong economic growth will create more demand for their goods and services. Job openings rose 2.9 percent to 4.97 million in November, the most since January 2001. More job vacancies generally lead to more hiring. Employers have been slow to fill their openings for most of the recovery, but that started to change last year as companies ramped up their overall hiring. There are always some open jobs even in a depressed economy. Job vacancies fell to 2.1 million in July 2009, one month after the Great Recession ended. Vacancies have soared in the past year, raising questions about why they aren't being filled more quickly. The most recent jobs report showed that employers added 252,000 jobs in December, capping the strongest year for hiring in 15 years.


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U.S. Firms Raising Wages; Skills Gaps in Goods Producing Sector
Reuters, 1/26/2015

A significant number of American companies plan to raise wages in the next three months, the National Association for Business Economics' (NABE) latest quarterly business conditions survey showed this month, bolstering expectations of an acceleration in wage growth this year. Fifty-one percent of the 93 economists who participated said their firms expected to increase wages in the first quarter. That compared to 34 percent in the October survey. Almost a third said their firms had increased wages and salaries in the fourth quarter, up from just 24 percent the prior period. The economists represented a broad spectrum of businesses, including goods-producing, transportation, finance and services. "It seems as if a number of companies made a decision to kick-up wages at the end of the year. At this stage of the cycle where the unemployment rate has come down, hiring goals continue to improve and now wages are kicking in," said John Silvia, NABE president.


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The Global Economy and the U.S. Real Estate Market

Huffington Post, 1/23/2015

The collapse of the price of oil, turmoil in the global economy, and ongoing upheaval in the Middle East are sending mixed signals for what lies ahead in for the U.S. economy, and by extension, the real estate market, even though the U.S. is one of the few countries to enjoy a genuinely optimistic outlook for 2015. Since America is not immune to the impact of global economic and political trends, it may not be the case that the current rosy growth projections will ultimately be realized. According to, 40% of all foreign real estate buyers in the U.S. come from Europe and Latin America, with about a third coming from Asia, resulting in great geographical disparity in terms of where those buyers actually buy. For example, 74% of foreign buyers of real estate in California come from Asia, while 59% of such buyers in Texas come (not surprisingly) from Latin America. The relative health of entire regions of the world can have a profound impact on the health of local real estate markets.


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