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How Every Asset Class, Currency, and S&P 500 Sector Performed in 2021

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2021 asset performance

How Every Market Performed in 2021

After the roller coaster of volatility in 2020, the majority of asset classes in 2021 saw positive returns as the world reopened for business.

The Federal Reserve’s accommodative monetary policy, supply chain struggles, and high demand for fuels and raw materials for the clean energy transition largely shaped the markets.

Alongside the rise in inflation, commodities and cryptocurrency outperformed as broad equity indices saw double-digit returns, with the S&P 500 rising by 26.9% in 2021.

Markets Roundup for 2021

Speculation and the energy fuels for the world’s reopening were two of the main themes for markets in 2021, reflected in Bitcoin (59.8%) and crude oil (56.4%) being the top two performing assets in that time frame.

The S&P GSCI commodity index (37.1%) was another top performer, as agricultural and livestock food prices rose alongside the Dow Jones Real Estate Index (35.1%).

Asset Class2021 ReturnAsset Type
Bitcoin59.8%Cryptocurrency
WTI Crude Oil56.4%Commodity
S&P GSCI37.1%Commodity
Dow Jones Real Estate Index35.1%Real Estate
S&P 50026.9%Equities
S&P/TSX Composite21.7%Equities
Russell 200013.7%Equities
MSCI EAFE7.8%Equities
U.S. Dollar6.4%Currency
Bloomberg Barclays Corporate Bonds Index-1.2%Bonds
Bloomberg U.S. Treasury Index-2.5%Bonds
Gold-3.6%Commodity
MSCI Emerging Markets-5.5%Equities
Silver-11.7%Commodity

Source: TradingView

Despite most physical and digital commodities seeing price gains, precious metals such as gold (-3.6%) and silver (-11.7%) struggled to hold onto their value, while industrial and battery metals like lithium (477.4%) and cobalt (207.7%) surged.

Large cap equity indices like the S&P 500 (26.9%) almost doubled the returns of small caps (Russell 2000, 13.7%), with emerging markets failing to keep up as they fell 5.5%.

How the S&P 500 Sectors Performed

After last year’s poor performance as the worst-performing S&P 500 sector, energy (47.7%) was 2021’s best performing sector alongside the rise in crude oil and other energy commodities.

Two other negative performers last year, real estate (42.5%) and financials (32.6%), also turned it around and were among the top performing sectors this year.

S&P 500 sector performance 2021

Despite many value equities performing well, growth equities still managed to keep a strong pace. Information technology (33.4%) continued to provide strong returns with Microsoft (51.2%) outperforming many of the other tech giants.

As Amazon (2.38%) and Netflix lagged behind (11.4%), Apple (33.8%) capped off its strong 2021 returns by becoming the first U.S. company to reach a $3T market cap at the start of 2022.

Foreign Exchange and Currency Returns in 2021

While the U.S. dollar struggled last year with most currencies outperforming it, 2021 saw the dollar index rise by 6.4%, outperforming most other currencies.

The Chinese yuan (2.7%) and Canadian dollar (0.7%) were the only major currencies that managed positive returns against the U.S. dollar, while the Australian dollar (-5.7%), Euro (-7.0%), and Japanese Yen (-10.2%) were among the worst performers.

currency performance 2021

The Turkish lira was the standout loser in foreign exchange, and the turmoil was punctuated by turnover in the country’s finance minister position. While most other emerging economies raised interest rates to fight against inflation, Turkey has continued cutting rates and looks set to default on its $446 million of external debt.

The Winners and Losers of 2021

As the COVID-19 pandemic defined many of the winners and losers in 2020, the gradual reopening of international travel and business shaped the over and underperformers of 2021.

Cryptocurrencies had a standout year beyond Bitcoin (59.8%), which was greatly outpaced by many other cryptocurrencies and smart contract platforms like Ethereum (398.3%), Solana (11,177.8%), Avalanche (3,334.8%), and Luna (12,967.3%).

While Tesla (49.8%) had another strong year, Lucid and Ford Motors greatly outperformed Elon Musk’s company and the rest of the auto industry with their EV efforts. Demand was so great that Ford had to halt reservations for its F-150 Lightning pickup trucks at the end of 2021.

2021 winners and losers

The pain of Evergrande Group (89.3%) shareholders is set to end soon, with the company starting 2022 by halting shares in Hong Kong as its $300 billion in liabilities remain in limbo.

Peloton (-76.4%) was another big loser in 2021 as it gave back nearly all of its gains from last year, proving lockdown speculation fueled most of its former valuation. Just Eat (-52.9%) was similarly hit hard as restaurants reopened in 2021.

Robinhood’s (53.3%) weak performance since its IPO puts a bow on 2021’s retail “stonk” frenzy kicked off by the Wall Street Bets subreddit.

With 2021 being a breakout year for retail traders and investors online, we’ll see if 2022 remains risk-on as the Fed begins tapering, or if markets are due for a change in direction.

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Mapped: The Industry Hiring the Most People In Every Country

The restaurant industry has the most vacancies in the U.S., followed by non-profit organizations.

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Mapped: The Industry Hiring the Most People In Every Country

Job searching can be challenging, especially when you are located in a region where your skills may not be in high demand.

This map illustrates which industry is hiring the most people in every country, based on LinkedIn job listings searched by Resume.io. This analysis only considers countries with 300 or more job listings and data is as of August 2023.

The Top Job Postings in America, Canada, the UK, and Australia

The restaurant industry had the most vacancies in the U.S., accounting for 7.9% of all job ads. It was followed by non-profit organizations with 5.6%, and motor vehicle manufacturing with 4.4%:

U.S. Industry by Job Ads% of Job Ads
Restaurants7.86%
Non-profit Organizations5.59%
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing4.41%
Software Development4.28%
Hospitality4.07%
Wellness and Fitness Services3.78%
Financial Services3.76%
Transportation, Logistics, Supply Chain, Storage3.61%
Internet Publishing3.59%
Defense and Space Manufacturing3.53%

According to the study, the trend in restaurant hiring is indicative of America’s return to eating out after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, hospitals and health care were Canada’s biggest potential employers, with almost 15% of all job ads. Retail came in second with 12.4%, followed by staffing and recruitment with 6.8%:

Canadian Industry by Job Ads% of Job Ads
Hospitals and Health Care14.82%
Retail12.45%
Staffing and Recruiting6.85%
Human Resources Services4.61%
IT Services and IT Consulting3.86%
Technology, Information and Internet3.75%
Financial Services3.53%
Manufacturing3.16%
Internet Publishing2.85%
Construction2.61%

In the UK, the construction industry had the most wanted ads with 9.2%. Britain’s construction industry has faced ongoing worker shortages, exacerbated by Brexit, which has prevented EU citizens from working in the UK without visas:

UK Industry by Job Ads% of Job Ads
Construction9.22%
Industrial Machinery Manufacturing6.03%
Education Administration Programs5.78%
Financial Services4.88%
Non-profit Organizations4.69%
Civil Engineering3.99%
Motor Vehicle Manufacturing3.62%
Accounting3.45%
Advertising Services3.43%
Hospitality3.36%

Just three sectors accounted for over 30% of the jobs available in Australia. Government administration was the sector hiring the most people (11.60%), followed by staffing and recruiting (10.8%) and hospitals and health care (10.2%):

Australian Industry by Job Ads% of Job Ads
Government Administration11.60%
Staffing and Recruiting10.81%
Hospitals and Health Care10.20%
Retail6.85%
IT Services and IT Consulting5.55%
Financial Services3.06%
Construction3.01%
Education Administration Programs2.68%
Human Resources Services2.54%
Software Development2.24%

Industry Hiring In Every Country by Job Ads in 2023

Across all countries, two sectors posted the most wanted ads in the most countries (28), staffing and recruiting and IT services and IT consulting. Healthcare and retail industries also appear among those in high demand.

CountryIndustry
🇦🇱 AlbaniaInternet Publishing
🇩🇿 AlgeriaBanking
🇦🇴 AngolaHuman Resources Services
🇦🇷 ArgentinaHuman Resources Services
🇦🇲 ArmeniaSoftware Development
🇦🇺 AustraliaGovernment Administration
🇦🇹 AustriaRetail
🇦🇿 AzerbaijanBanking
🇧🇭 BahrainStaffing and Recruiting
🇧🇩 BangladeshSoftware Development
🇧🇪 BelgiumStaffing and Recruiting
🇧🇴 BoliviaHuman Resources Services
🇧🇦 Bosnia and HerzegovinaSoftware Development
🇧🇷 BrazilTechnology, Information and Internet
🇧🇬 BulgariaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇰🇭 CambodiaHospitality
🇨🇦 CanadaHospitals and Health Care
🇰🇾 Cayman IslandsIT Services and IT Consulting
🇹🇩 ChadStaffing and Recruiting
🇯🇪 Channel Islands (Jersey)Financial Services
🇨🇱 ChileHuman Resources Services
🇨🇳 ChinaTechnology, Information and Internet
🇨🇴 ColombiaHuman Resources Services
🇨🇩 Congo (Democratic Republic of the)Hospitality
🇨🇷 Costa RicaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇭🇷 CroatiaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇨🇾 CyprusTechnology, Information and Internet
🇨🇿 Czech RepublicStaffing and Recruiting
🇩🇰 DenmarkRetail
🇩🇴 Dominican RepublicInsurance
🇪🇨 EcuadorIT Services and IT Consulting
🇪🇬 EgyptTechnology, Information and Internet
🇸🇻 El SalvadorHuman Resources Services
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 EnglandStaffing and Recruiting
🇪🇪 EstoniaTechnology, Information and Internet
🇪🇹 EthiopiaSoftware Development
🇫🇮 FinlandIT Services and IT Consulting
🇫🇷 FranceStaffing and Recruiting
🇬🇫 French GuianaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇬🇪 GeorgiaStaffing and Recruiting
🇩🇪 GermanyStaffing and Recruiting
🇬🇭 GhanaHigher Education
🇬🇷 GreeceTechnology, Information and Internet
🇬🇵 GuadeloupeTechnology, Information and Internet
🇬🇹 GuatemalaHuman Resources Services
🇭🇹 HaitiStaffing and Recruiting
🇭🇳 HondurasIT Services and IT Consulting
🇭🇰 Hong Kong (SAR)Financial Services
🇭🇺 HungaryIT Services and IT Consulting
🇮🇸 IcelandHigher Education
🇮🇳 IndiaStaffing and Recruiting
🇮🇩 IndonesiaHospitality
🇮🇶 IraqDefense and Space Manufacturing
🇬🇧 Ireland (Northern)Staffing and Recruiting
🇮🇪 Ireland (Republic of)Staffing and Recruiting
🇮🇲 Isle of ManHuman Resources Services
🇮🇱 IsraelSoftware Development
🇮🇹 ItalyRetail
🇯🇲 JamaicaStaffing and Recruiting
🇯🇵 JapanIT Services and IT Consulting
🇯🇴 JordanTechnology, Information and Internet
🇰🇿 KazakhstanIT Services and IT Consulting
🇰🇪 KenyaSoftware Development
🇰🇼 KuwaitDefense and Space Manufacturing
🇰🇬 KyrgyzstanIT Services and IT Consulting
🇱🇻 LatviaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇱🇧 LebanonTechnology, Information and Internet
🇱🇮 LiechtensteinStaffing and Recruiting
🇱🇹 LithuaniaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇱🇺 LuxembourgStaffing and Recruiting
🇲🇴 MacaoHuman Resources Services
🇲🇰 Macedonia (North)Technology, Information and Internet
🇲🇾 MalaysiaFinancial Services
🇲🇹 MaltaTechnology, Information and Internet
🇲🇶 MartiniqueTechnology, Information and Internet
🇲🇺 MauritiusFinancial Services
🇲🇽 MexicoIT Services and IT Consulting
🇲🇩 MoldovaInternet Publishing
🇲🇨 MonacoStaffing and Recruiting
🇲🇦 MoroccoIT Services and IT Consulting
🇲🇲 MyanmarStaffing and Recruiting
🇳🇵 NepalSoftware Development
🇳🇱 NetherlandsStaffing and Recruiting
🇳🇿 New ZealandStaffing and Recruiting
🇳🇮 NicaraguaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇳🇬 NigeriaHuman Resources Services
🇳🇴 NorwayStaffing and Recruiting
🇴🇲 OmanStaffing and Recruiting
🇵🇰 PakistanSoftware Development
🇵🇦 PanamaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇵🇬 Papua New GuineaStaffing and Recruiting
🇵🇾 ParaguayTelecommunications
🇵🇪 PeruHuman Resources Services
🇵🇭 PhilippinesIT Services and IT Consulting
🇵🇱 PolandIT Services and IT Consulting
🇵🇹 PortugalIT Services and IT Consulting
🇵🇷 Puerto RicoRetail
🇶🇦 QatarStaffing and Recruiting
🇷🇪 ReunionBusiness Consulting and Services
🇷🇴 RomaniaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇷🇺 RussiaTechnology, Information and Internet
🇸🇭 Saint HelenaSoftware Development
🇸🇦 Saudi ArabiaStaffing and Recruiting
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 ScotlandStaffing and Recruiting
🇸🇳 SenegalStaffing and Recruiting
🇷🇸 SerbiaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇸🇬 SingaporeStaffing and Recruiting
🇸🇰 SlovakiaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇸🇮 SloveniaTechnology, Information and Internet
🇿🇦 South AfricaStaffing and Recruiting
🇰🇷 South KoreaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇪🇸 SpainIT Services and IT Consulting
🇱🇰 Sri LankaIT Services and IT Consulting
🇸🇪 SwedenGovernment Administration
🇨🇭 SwitzerlandInternet Publishing
🇹🇼 TaiwanSoftware Development
🇹🇭 ThailandSoftware Development
🇹🇳 TunisiaSoftware Development
🇹🇷 TurkeySoftware Development
🇻🇮 U.S. Virgin IslandsIT Services and IT Consulting
🇺🇬 UgandaEducation Administration Programs
🇺🇦 UkraineSoftware Development
🇦🇪 United Arab EmiratesTransportation, Logistics, Supply Chain and Storage
🇬🇧 United KingdomConstruction
🇺🇸 United States of AmericaRestaurants
🇺🇾 UruguaySoftware Development
🇻🇪 VenezuelaConsumer Services
🇻🇳 VietnamSoftware Development
🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 WalesConstruction

Which countries or industries stand out the most to you?

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