According to a survey by the consulting firm Oliver Wyman published this month, more people in China and Brazil are concerned about their jobs than those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
According to the report, 30% of respondents in Brazil and 32% of respondents in China both expressed concern about how inflation would affect their ability to find work.
The poll discovered that this number was only 13% in the US and the UK.
According to an official poll conducted in July, the unemployment rate for young people in China between the ages of 16 and 24 has increased to almost 20%, compared to 5.4% for urban residents of working age.
According to official statistics, Brazil’s unemployment rate as of July was 9.1%.
Government statistics show that the unemployment rate in the U.S. was a much lower 3.5% in July compared to 3.6% in the U.K.
Consumer perceptions of the effects of inflation were the main focus of the Oliver Wyman study. Ben Simpfendorfer, a partner based in Hong Kong, pointed out that, in addition to inflation, each nation faced special challenges that probably influenced the poll results.
He emphasized that income disparities are more pronounced in Brazil and that “periods of very high inflation are not unusual.”
The fact that a significant 68% of Brazilian respondents expressed concern about their capacity to pay for groceries and other necessities reflected this.
Brazilian customers were most worried about their ability to afford those products, but this issue was shared by all four nations. At 48%, the U.K. came in second, followed by the U.S. (44%), and China (42%).
Income and employment concerns in China
“Worries about household abilities to pay for groceries would be primarily inflation-related” in the United States, where jobs growth and income growth have been solid despite recession fears, Simpfendorfer said.
“Whereas in China, growth has been a little weaker, jobs growth for certain demographics has been weaker, workers in the tech sector have struggled recently, wage growth has been sluggish,” he said. “That may also play into concerns about the ability to pay for groceries.”
Covid restrictions and a downturn in the real estate sector have hurt China’s economy. Sentiment has also been affected by a tougher regulatory environment, particularly with regard to internet sector enterprises.
Additionally, Chinese income growth is lagging behind the general rate of price increases.
According to official figures for the first half of the year, the average monthly discretionary income for city dwellers in China was 4,167 Chinese yuan ($598). That was just 1.9% more than it was a year prior.
In contrast, China’s consumer price index increased by 2.5% in August compared to a year earlier, which was slightly below the two-year high of 2.7% reached in July. A large portion of the rise was caused by a rise in the cost of pork, an essential meal.
According to the Oliver Wyman survey, respondents from the United Kingdom were the most pessimistic in terms of the economic future, with 75% anticipating things to become worse. That percentage was 56% in the US.
The study was conducted in July, and the results showed that respondents from China and Brazil were the most upbeat, with 42% and 26% of them anticipating improvements in the next six months, respectively.
Less than 15% of U.S. or U.K. respondents, however, claimed that recession fears were what prompted them to learn new skills or take on a second job. But in China and Brazil, that percentage was significantly higher.