As 2016 draws to a close, global economic growth is projected to come in at a subdued 2.4% for the year, the fifth consecutive year below 3%. A slight acceleration to 2.8% is predicted for 2017 as growth in North America continues, South America and Russia see some recovery activity, and APAC markets remain relatively strong. A positive outlook for global labor markets is also forecast, with unemployment continuing to decrease as economic activity improves. Despite this rosy outlook, significant risks exist including the implications of new government administrations in several countries (particularly the US), the onset of the Brexit process, and financial market volatility.
In the wake of the US election, some uncertainties have been solved but many still remain as it is unclear what policies president-elect Trump will pursue. Despite this lingering unpredictability, the economic and labor market outlooks for North American markets are positive for 2017. South American economies are also forecast to see an upturn in 2017, although Brazil and Venezuela will struggle to climb out of deep recessions.
Labor markets continue to improve across western Europe, but many still face challenges including high youth unemployment. Uncertainty stemming from the start of the Brexit process and elections upcoming in 2017 is weighing on economic forecasts for many European markets. Rising oil prices should help Russia and many Middle Eastern economies, but geopolitical, fiscal, and structural challenges remain.
Despite some tempering of economic activity in the major growth engines of China and India, APAC is still expected to outpace all other regions. The labor market outlook for APAC is similarly healthy as job creation continues and unemployment is on a downward trend.