Jobs for Growth

Sep 2015
Jobs are essential for the growth of individuals and countries alike. Achieving personal fulfillment is harder without a job, just as an economy as a whole cannot develop without the impetus of the labor market. These two perspectives unquestionably go hand in hand: from the individual perspective, finding a good job is a legitimate aspiration for anyone who wishes to support oneself and one's family; from the societal perspective, creating more and better jobs is essential to the achievement of lasting and equitable growth. Jobs for Growth rests on this dual vision. This book examines the performance of the region's labor market and, based on this analysis, proposes an integrated package of measures for both personal growth (through successful career paths) and economic growth (through more high-quality jobs and higher productivity). Over the past two decades, the bullish economic cycle has yielded undeniable gains for labor markets in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), among them lower unemployment, improved job creation, and a substantial increase in wages. However, the situation on the horizon -stagnation of the region's growth and weaknesses in the global macroeconomic outlook- have increased the urgency to find solutions to today's most pressing labor problems. This volume shows that, despite the still-low unemployment rates, the region may find itself trapped in a vicious cycle of poor-quality jobs -a phenomenon especially visible in the high percentage of informal jobs (which are defined in this publication as those without access to social security benefits) and in the high proportion of very short-lived jobs. As the title Jobs for Growth indicates, breaking this cycle will require comprehensive policies that boost productivity.