GLOBILITY® - 2 December 2016 

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EMEA

Eurozone Business Activity Grows at Fastest Pace This Year
According to Markit’s index of private sector manufacturing and services, Eurozone business activity grew at the fastest pace this year in November. Germany led the growth, says Markit, which noted that employment growth strengthened for the second month running, so that the consistently high unemployment rate could fall further in the coming months. Read the rest of this Eurozone business story.

It’s Getting a Lot More Expensive to Hire from Abroad
The true impact of Brexit on the supply of skilled workers is yet unknown. Uncertainty continues to surround government policy on EU workers already in the UK, and any post-Brexit EU migration proposals remain under wraps and subject to negotiations with the EU. But it seems clear that access to the global labor market for UK businesses is not going to get any easier. Skilled migrants are critical to the future success of many businesses, and therefore have a huge part to play in the future success of the British economy. One thing businesses can do is focus as much 2017 recruitment activity as possible in the first months of the new year, and avoid increases in fees and salary thresholds that will make their task harder after April. Learn about how the post-EU referendum increases the cost of hiring foreign workers.

APAC

Where Will Japanese Companies Go in a Post-Brexit World?
Since global companies have traditionally viewed the UK as the threshold through which to effect business development and expansion in Europe, after the EU referendum’s unexpected outcome, they now need to find new options. By the late 1990s, with the UK as their base, Japanese and other global companies enjoyed full access to all the EU member countries — in effect, to most of Europe — without having to adapt to local labor regulations or other differences. During the next two decades, this allowed Europe, including Eastern Europe, Russia, and Turkey, to become a viable market for Japanese products. But now, Japanese business leaders have been forced out of their comfort zone, and as they seek new ways to establish a presence in the European market, global companies will change the footprints of their global activity.  Discover how Japanese companies can look for other avenues and new “centers of gravity” for business in Europe.  

The Big Read: Amber Alert as Singapore Slips in Several World Rankings
Even though Singapore remains one of the top performers globally measured by various yardsticks, the competition is heating up, and it has slipped in several rankings. Deloitte’s 2016 Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index, published in March, ranked the Republic at 10th place - dropping one spot from the previous edition three years ago, with Singapore projected to slip further by 2020. Swiss business school IMD’s 2016 World Competitiveness Ranking released in May saw Singapore falling one position to fourth, increasing the distance to traditional rival Hong Kong. In October, Singapore lost its coveted status as the world’s easiest place to do business, after an unbroken 10-year streak. Dragged down by factors such as cost and regulatory compliance - which observers had noted were important for security and anti-money laundering efforts - the Republic came in second behind New Zealand in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index. Find out more about Singapore’s rankings.

AMERICAS  

Costa Rica, Denmark and Norway Have the Happiest and Most Loyal Workforces in the World
Costa Rica followed Denmark and Norway to take third place in Universum’s Global Workforce Happiness Index, which
delivers benchmarks for employee happiness and loyalty, helps analyze the impact on innovation and growth, and provides a way for companies to plan improvements. Universum Research Project Manager, Daniel Eckert, said “Employee happiness is crucial for retaining good talent as well as having a motivated workforce that delivers great results and continuously innovates. If the young professionals in a market show low levels of discontent, this is a good sign for the economy as whole. However, it is at these times when it’s harder to obtain the best talent from your competitors.” Costa Rica’s results were unique in that the survey showed their workforce is not just a happy one: employees are likely to stay in their current jobs longer than the rest of their Latin American counterparts. Find out more about the Global Workforce Happiness Index.

Payrolls in U.S. Rise as Jobless Rate Falls to Nine-Year Low
U.S. hiring picked up in November and the unemployment rate tumbled to a nine-year low while wages unexpectedly declined, providing a mixed picture of progress in the labor market. The 178,000-gain followed a 142,000 rise in October that was less than previously estimated, per the just-released Labor Department report. The jobless rate fell to 4.6 percent from 4.9 percent as people entered the labor force and found jobs, though the overall participation rate dropped for a second month. A steady job market signals employers were willing to keep hiring in the days before and after the Nov. 8 presidential election, and the lower jobless rate suggests pay and inflation will continue to trend upward. At the same time, while the Federal Reserve is almost certain to raise borrowing costs this month, sustained weakness in wages or participation would weigh on the economic outlook. Find out more about the U.S. workforce.    

General Interest

Equal Pay for Men and Women Boosts Growth: IMF Chief
Christine Lagarde, chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has called on governments and businesses to do more to promote the same economic opportunities for men and women and to fight discrimination that interferes with those goals. Lagarde said that developing countries can foster equal pay by channeling government spending to areas such as education, health care and infrastructure, which affect women most. Advanced economies can tackle the problem on the revenue side, Lagarde said, by easing the tax burden on families' second income earners, typically women, and single-parent households, also usually women in the low tax brackets. “Good fiscal policies actually serve to close that gender gap and to facilitate access," Lagarde said. Gain more insight on the IMF’s statements about pay equality.