Even before the financial crisis, the world was facing a job crisis. Jobs will remain at the center of the policy debate in the near future for five main reasons:
- During the crisis, 30 to 40 million jobs were lost. Even if employment levels are improving, progress is not uniform across all countries. Plus, countries still face the need to create employment opportunities for those who have entered the labor force since the crisis began.
- Beyond the current economic crisis and the problem of unemployment a central development challenge is how to improve the quality of the millions of jobs that already exist. Labor income is the main mechanism through which people escape poverty, yet many workers and their families today remain poor.
- Across countries, a large share of workers are in informal wage employment lacking access to social security and labor regulations. Many more – 80 percent of workers in the case of Sub-Saharan Africa -- are self-employed in subsistence activities or working in small household enterprises, often without pay.
- Demographic patterns add urgency to the need to expand job opportunities. Young people, including those with higher education, still struggle to find jobs in many parts of the world. And as more of them enter the labor market, the situation could worsen, particularly in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East.