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Global Labor Market Outlook 2019: No End in Sight to Worker Shortages

Which region of the world offers the highest-quality, lowest-wage workers?

It certainly isn’t Central/Eastern Europe: explosive wage growth, negative working-age population growth, and a booming economy mean this region (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechia, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, and Slovakia) has the most acute labor shortages in the world. In this report, we break down the labor outlook for the rest of Europe, the US, Japan, and emerging markets in Latin America and Asia. Spoiler: labor markets are tight everywhere. We also detail Asia’s winners and losers in the US-China trade war.

Press Release

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

In 2019, economic and employment growth is likely to slow down across most mature economies, with the US still growing faster than most other countries. Still, employment is likely to remain strong enough to further tighten the labor market and further accelerate wage growth. Within this overall trend, there is still large variation across countries.

Some countries like Germany, Japan, and the US and broader regions like Central and Eastern Europe are experiencing historically tight labor markets, making it harder for employers to recruit and retain workers, which leads to accelerating labor cost and pressure on profits.

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AUTHORS

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Gad Levanon, PhD

Vice President, Labor Markets
The Conference Board

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Frank Steemers

Senior Economist
The Conference Board

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Elizabeth Crofoot

Senior Economist
Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board


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