GLOBILITY® - August 24, 2016 

 

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EMEA

French Jobless Rate Falls Below 10% For First Time Since 2012
Unemployment in France, which has declined more slowly than in most European economies, recently dropped below 10 percent for the first time since 2012, says statistics institute INSEE. Unemployment on mainland France and its overseas territories fell to 9.9 percent in the second quarter, from 10.2 in the previous three months. Unemployment was down in all age categories, but the fall in youth unemployment was sharpest: falling 0.4 points to 24.3 percent, the lowest since 2014. Click through to the full article for more information.

Counting Africa's Invisible Workers
Africa has a youth population that is expected to rise to more than 830 million by 2050. But African policymakers have some serious unanswered questions: how many people are they really dealing with, where do they live, and how do they earn a living? This is why they lack such information: in 46 of 54 African countries, official tracking of vital statistics such as birth, marriage, and death is limited, and the census programs that exist are often poorly funded and undependable. With an estimated 122 million people expected to join the African workforce by 2022, the lack of an accurate picture of their labor market means that governments are constrained in their ability to address workforce trends, challenges and opportunities. Read more about Africa’s job market.   

APAC

China Says Foreign Investors' Concern Over Its Cybersecurity Bill Is 'Unnecessary'
More than 40 global business groups petitioned China’s Premier Li Keqiang in early August to revise the country’s pending cybersecurity law, saying the regulations would impede China’s economic growth, create barriers to market entry and impair the country’s security by isolating it technologically. The groups say the pending rules are vague, include provisions for invasive government security reviews and onerous requirements to keep data in China, and discriminate against foreign enterprises. China’s Foreign Ministry said the bill will not create obstacles for foreign business. Access the Fortune article for additional insight.  

Japan in Transition: The World’s Biggest Mobilization of Elderly Workers is Underway
Japan’s labor force has been shrinking since 1995, exacerbated by a low birth rate that has worsened since 2008. The country’s severe labor shortage – and its deep impact on the economy – has three causes: a lack of immigration, a retiree population in the millions, and a decreasing number of young people entering the workforce. One solution: retaining older workers for longer periods. With this goal in mind, the government raised the retirement age to 61 in 2013, and will gradually increase it until it reaches 65 in 2025. Learn why successfully mobilizing older workers and extending retirement ages may be an issue for Japan and other countries in coming decades.   

AMERICAS

The 2016 Rio Olympics: Will Brazil’s Emergence Get a Second Wind?
The Olympics presented a promising prospect for Brazilian leaders to showcase their country’s emergence. Despite the end of a commodity boom that undermined Brazil’s emergence, the country maintains aspirations for an influential global role that will help restore prosperity and strengthen its institutions. Following the focus on the country that the Olympics provided, Brazil has the opportunity to engage more fully with the world in order to succeed, and integrate into global value chains rather than remaining the most closed of the large economies. Find out more about Brazil’s post-Olympics business prospects.                    

Peru Planning Structural Reforms Over Next 100 Days

Peru’s Prime Minister, Fernando Zavala, said that the government will activate structural reforms to create internal drivers of short-, medium- and long-term international growth over the next few months. Zavala says these initiatives will “help the formalization of the job market, alongside an ambitious plan of public investment and a simplification of the tax regime.” According to a government finance official, Peru's economic expansion is set to continue and reach 4.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. Read on about infrastructure plans for Peru.

The World is Getting Better at Paid Maternity Leave. The U.S. is Not.
Experts say offering paid maternity leave can boost economic growth, but despite having one of the world's most advanced economies, the United States lags far behind other countries in its policies for expectant mothers. In addition to being the only highly competitive country where mothers are not guaranteed paid leave, it sits in stark contrast to countries such as Cuba and Mongolia that offer expectant mothers one year or more of paid leave. The International Labor Organization, a U.N.-affiliated agency, recommends women in the workforce be guaranteed at least 14 weeks of paid maternal leave. Some advanced economies, such as Norway, Canada and Sweden, provide at least 26 weeks of paid leave. Jody Heymann, founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center, says "Most countries have recognized that this is critical to the success of their economy," she said. "Countries can either work with half of their workforce or compete with their full workforce, which requires paid maternity leave." Click through to the full article for more information.

GENERAL INTEREST

WEF: These are the Technologies That Will Transform Finance Over the Next Few Decades 
The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released its report, the "Future of Financial Infrastructure" on blockchain technology. (A blockchain is a type of distributed ledger, comprised of unchangeable, digitally recorded data in packages called blocks, e.g., bitcoin transactions.)  The WEF report posits that digital currency bitcoin may become the "beating heart" of financial services in coming years. Read about the report and see the WEF infographic on financial innovations.