The focus on economic growth has not always acknowledged the need for accompanying structural reforms to ensure adequate levels of employment and welfare distribution as key conditions for sustainable poverty reduction.
Recent research shows that even among countries with positive GDP growth, many are facing persistently low or even declining levels of employment creation. This has led to high levels of chronic under-employment and unemployment, poor working conditions, increasing factor mobility, and predominance of informal employment; all of these recognized as features of labour markets in many developing countries.
The causes are various.
Insufficient job creation is confronted by a significant increase in the global labour supply in the last decades due to strong demographic pressure and factors such as migration and the opening of closed economies. The economic crisis in recent years has not helped in reducing the employment gap. Globalisation has also had an extraordinary influence in the nature of the global economy and labour markets in terms of high factor mobility, reduced bargaining power of labour resulting in downward pressure on wages or increased flexibilisation of labour regulations.
It is estimated that over 25 Lacs new jobs need to be created in recent coming years just to absorb the expected youth cohort. But employment challenges have not only to do with the number of jobs. What matters for most people in developing countries is the quality of the job (or rather the work they are carrying out to generate income). The quality of jobs is about escaping from poverty, about wages and productivity, it is about rights, protection, and safety, and it is about having access to permanent and secure jobs. We need to improve conditions for those who are working but not earning enough to lift themselves and their families.
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