SDG Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth Progress

Inclusive and sustainable economic growth can drive progress and generate the means to implement the Sustainable Development Goals. Globally, labour productivity has increased and unemployment is back to pre-financial crisis levels. However, the global economy is growing at a slower rate. More progress is needed to increase employment opportunities, particularly for young people, reduce informal employment and the gender pay gap and promote safe and secure working environments to create decent work for all.

  • In 2017, the global growth rate of real GDP per capita was 1.9 per cent and is expected to remain at about 2 per cent from 2018 to 2020. This is significantly less than the 3 per cent rate attained in 2010 and slightly higher than the 2015 rate of 1.63 per cent. Real GDP growth rate for least developed countries is expected to increase from 4.5 per cent in 2017 to 5.7 per cent in 2020, which is less than the 7 per cent envisioned by the 2030 Agenda.
  • Since the global economic downturn of 2009, labour productivity (measured as GDP per employed person) has been increasing in the world, recording positive annual growth rates consistently since 2010. In 2018, the world’s labour productivity increased by 2.1 per cent, its highest annual growth since 2010.
  • Informal employment, which has an impact on the adequacy of earnings, occupational safety and health and working conditions, remains pervasive: in three quarters of countries with data on the subject, more than half of all persons employed in non-agriculture sectors are in informal employment.
  • Based on data for 62 countries, the median hourly gender pay gap stood at 12 per cent. The median gender pay gap exceeded 20 per cent in managerial and professional occupations, among workers in crafts and related trades and among plant machine operators and assemblers.
  • The global unemployment rate has finally recovered from the global economic crisis. In 2018, the global unemployment rate stood at 5.0 per cent – matching pre-crisis levels. Youth were three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.
  • In 2018, one fifth of the world’s youth were not in education, employment or training, meaning that they were neither gaining professional experience nor acquiring or developing skills through educational or vocational programmes in their prime years. There is a stark gender difference. Young women were more than twice as likely as young men to be unemployed or outside the labour force and not in education or training.
  • Many workers around the world are exposed to undue risks in their workplaces. Based on recent data from some 55 countries, a median of 3 deaths occurred per 100,000 employees and a median of 889 non-fatal injuries occurred per 100,000 employees.
  • Access to finance is on the rise globally, but the mode of access seems to be changing with growing reliance on technology. From 2010 to 2017, the number of automated teller machines (ATMs) per 100,000 adults grew by close to 50 per cent from 45 to 66 globally, and from 2.3 to 5.8 in the least developed countries. The number of commercial bank branches per 100,000 adults grew by only 2 per cent between 2010 and 2017, with more customers using digital banking solutions.
  • In 2017, aid-for-trade commitments increased to $58 billion and more than doubled when compared to the 2002–2005 baseline, when they represented $23.1 billion. In absolute terms, the increase was highest in the agriculture sector ($1.7 billion), the industry sector ($1.0 billion) and in banking and financial services ($1.0 billion).

Source: Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform