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World down on jobs, with Europe bleakest: Gallup

Published on Sunday, 23 Jun 2013
Protesters in Athens, Greece.

 WASHINGTON: A majority of adults worldwide said job prospects were dim in their local communities, with Europeans expressing the most pessimism about finding a job, Gallup found in a recent survey.

Fifty-seven percent of adults worldwide said it was a bad time to find a job, a figure unchanged from 2011, although global views on job prospects have improved since 2009, the height of the global downturn, the poll found.

In Europe, currently undergoing a recession, 75 per cent said 2012 was a bad time to find work, surpassing all other regions in terms of negativity.

Eurozone countries topped the list of those negative on job options, with Greece, Italy and Spain the worst places to find work, according to citizens of those nations.

In Greece, which saw its economy shrink 20 per cent between 2007 and 2012, 98 per cent of residents tagged job prospects as bad.

In Spain, with unemployment rates resembling a depression, 94 per cent of residents said 2012 was a bad year to find work.

In Italy, with massive debt and a contracting economy, 95 per cent of adults expressed job pessimism.

The United States stood in sharp contrast, with 40 per cent saying it was a good time to find a job and 54 per cent saying it was a bad time to find work.

But leading the world in 2012 job prospects optimism were emerging markets, with 73 per cent of residents of Saudi Arabia and Thailand saying it was a good time.

Job optimism in Thailand came amid strong domestic demand last year, which bolstered economic performance in the land of smiles.

For Saudi Arabia and other energy-rich countries such as Kuwait, Qatar, Venezuela, and, to a lesser extent, Turkmenistan, historically high oil prices last year likely contributed to bright employment prospects, Gallup found.

The World Bank recently cut its forecast for global economic growth in 2013 to 2.2 per cent, an ominous sign for job optimism this year, Gallup said.

Most countries will require economic growth well above the World Bank’s forecast to see a noticeable improvement in their economy and in their residents’ perceptions of the job market, the survey found.

Job pessimism is both a contributing factor to and a result of weak economic growth. An obvious problem is that in this environment, the millions of jobless and underemployed individuals will continue to struggle to secure a job.

Another complication is that currently employed workers, believing that finding work will be difficult if not impossible, will be incentivised to remain at their current jobs, even if these are not occupations that utilise their strengths. This further slows economic expansion, Gallup said.


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