The UAE's private sector activity contracted in November – and for the first time since May, as per a monthly tracker released by IHS Markit. The second round of lockdowns in the main export markets was the primary cause of the slowdown.
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However, one aspect among the statistics that could come as encouragement – job losses are now dropping at their lowest levels since February, which was the month before the pandemic broke out here. Businesses surveyed have reported that some of the employees laid off earlier have been hired back.
But the broader feelings of companies are pessimistic. They offered a "negative outlook for the year ahead for the first time since sentiment data were first collected in April 2012," said David Owen, Economist at IHS Markit. "Firms were hindered by a renewed fall in exports as global markets suffered from rising COVID-19 cases and lockdowns in some regions, including Europe."
Generally, new orders from overseas clients decreased slightly" in November, after increasing in the previous two months.
The November Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) stands at 49.5, and "registering below the 50.0 thresholds for the third time in four months."
"The index remained in contraction territory largely due to the output sub-component, which registered below 50.0 for the first time since May," the study states. "Firms highlighted that the recovery inactivity after the COVID-19 lockdown had stalled as demand conditions remained subdued."
This is what appears to have bad feelings around 2021 opportunities. Businesses are hoping they'll get enough of a boost in December to ease their fears.
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