SDG-8: DECENT WORK & ECONOMIC GROWTH

Over the past 25 years the number of workers living in extreme #poverty has declined dramatically, despite the lasting impact of the 2008 economic crisis and global recession. In developing countries, the middle class now makes up more than 34 percent of total employment – a number that has almost tripled between 1991 and 2015. However, as the global economy continues to recover, we are seeing slower growth, widening inequalities, and not enough jobs to keep up with a growing labour force. According to the International Labour Organization, more than 204 million people were unemployed in 2015. Globally, annual GDP growth declined from 4.4% in 2000 to 3.2% in 2017. One in ten people in the world lived on less than USD 1.90 in 2015, and in too many places, having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty. This slow and uneven progress requires us to rethink and retool our economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty. According to the ILO estimates, the global unemployment rate is expected to be 5.5% in 2018, marking a turnaround after three years of rising unemployment rates.

However, with a growing number of people entering the labour market to seek employment, the total number of unemployed is expected to remain stable in 2018, at above 192 million. In 2017, around 42 per cent of workers (or 1.4 billion) worldwide are estimated to be in vulnerable forms of employment, while this share is expected to remain particularly high in developing and emerging countries, at above 76% and 46%, respectively. In 2017, extreme working poverty remained widespread, with more than 300 million workers in emerging and developing countries having a per capita household income or consumption of less than US$1.90 (PPP) per day. A continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption has led to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies: that all must share in progress. The creation of quality jobs will remain a major challenge for almost all economies. But inclusive growth must also be cognisant of the needs of the most vulnerable – children, youth, and women.

WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?

While developing countries have grown at a rate faster than developed regions, sustained #economicgrowth everywhere will be critical to fulfilling our international developmental targets over the next 15 years. Economic growth – making our world more prosperous – is inextricably linked to all our other priorities. Stronger economies will afford us more opportunities to build a more resilient and #sustainable world. And economic growth must be inclusive: growth that does not improve the #wellbeing of all sections of society, especially the most vulnerable, is unequal and unfair.

‘No one left behind’ is at the core of the sustainable development agenda for 2030 and if economic growth is to build a fairer world, it must be inclusive. This is the idea behind Goal 8, which aims to sustain an economic growth rate of 7% for the least developed countries by 2030, and achieve full and productive employment for all men and women everywhere in the next 15 years. The SDGs promote sustained economic growth, higher levels of productivity and technological innovation. Encouraging entrepreneurship and job creation are key to this, as are effective measures to eradicate forced labour, slavery and human trafficking. With these targets in mind, the goal is to achieve full and productive employment, and decent work, for all women and men by 2030.

FACTS & FIGURES: –

·        Labour productivity at the global level, measured as output produced per employed person in constant 2005 US dollars, grew by 2.1 per cent in 2017. This is the fastest growth registered since 2010.

·        The global unemployment rate in 2017 was 5.6 per cent, down from 6.4 per cent in 2000. The decline has slowed since 2009, when it hit 5.9 per cent.

·        The global unemployment rate stood at 5.6 percent in 2017, corresponding to 192.7 million unemployed persons.

·        A recent Harvard study found that gender equality in the labour force could add US$28 trillion to the global economy by 2025.

·        Unemployment among youth (aged 15 to 24) reached 13 percent in 2014, nearly three times higher than the rate for adults.

·        Globally, 61 per cent of all workers were engaged in informal employment in 2016. Excluding the agricultural sector, 51 per cent of all workers fell into this employment category.

·        Only 29 percent of the global population has comprehensive social security; the other 71 percent are not, or only partially, protected.

·        470 million jobs will be needed to absorb new entrants to the labour market between 2016 and 2030.

INDIA AND GOAL 8

India can forge its own growth path, which can rely on both manufacturing and services as a growth escalator and employment generator. The challenge will be to create well-paying and productive jobs in non-farm sectors that can absorb more unskilled workers, including women and those in rural areas. As of today, labour-intensive manufacturing has not driven productivity growth and job creation. The sectors that have made productivity gains have been skill-intensive.

FACTS & FIGURES

·        India has a labour force of 475 million where 12.8 million enter the market every year.

·        In India more than 10 million children are employed as child labours despite legislation against it.

·        There are 12-15 million demands for employment every year in India.

·        India has a total 5% unemployment rate.

·        There is 27% decline in female labour participation rate in India.

·        20.7% of employed adolescents are engaged in hazardous work in India.

·        Almost 50% of the labour force still engaged in agricultural sector in India.

 WHAT INDIA NEEDS

·        As been mentioned almost half the labour force in India still works in the agricultural sector. With low productivity, it is difficult to promote gainful employment in agriculture. Enhancing agricultural productivity through public investment and new technologies should be a priority focus area.

·         Moreover, upgrading to high-value commodities, reforming agricultural marketing policies and market interventions, and strengthening linkages to agri-businesses are critical areas ripe for government intervention.

·         Increasing the labour force participation of women is a powerful tool not only to empower women, but also to steer economic growth itself. As reported by the McKinsey Global Institute (2015), if India increases its female labour force participation rate by 10 percentage points by 2025, its GDP could rise by as much as 16 percent as compared to the business-as-usual scenario.

·         India’s desired transition to a green economy will have a significant impact on job skill requirements within sectors, occupational profiles and business operations. 

·        Labour market and skill policies can play an important role in maximizing the benefits of economic greening for workers. 

·         Furthermore, the circular economy is gaining increasing attention as a strategy for long-term prosperity and sustainability. India’s engineering workforce, its rapidly developing engineering services, R&D expertise and its geo-position in South Asia, position it as a potential global hub for both frugal manufacturing and services. 

·        Additionally, the fourth industrial revolution is both an opportunity and a challenge for India.

·        The government’s National Skill Development Mission, Deendayal Upadhyaya Antodaya Yojana, Atal Innovation Mission, as well as the National Service Scheme and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme are some flagship programs aimed at bringing decent work to all.

The above-mentioned steps are not only specific to India but to all those developing countries who are struggling to provide decent job security to their labour force and enhance their economic growth. Globally, labour productivity has increased and the unemployment rate has decreased. However, more progress is needed to increase employment opportunities, especially for young people, reduce informal employment and labour market inequality (particularly in terms of the gender pay gap), promote safe and secure working environments, and improve access to financial services to ensure sustained and inclusive economic growth.

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