8 DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Increasing labour productivity, reducing the unemployment rate, especially for young people, and improving access to financial services and benefits are essential components of sustained and inclusive economic growth.
- The average annual growth rate of real GDP per capita worldwide was 1.6 per cent from 2010 to 2015, compared to 0.9 per cent in 2005-2009. In the least developed countries, the per capita growth rate accelerated from 3.5 per cent in 2000-2004 to 4.6 per cent in 2005-2009, before slowing to 2.5 per cent in 2010-2015. Overall average annual GDP growth in the least developed countries followed a similar trend, decelerating from 7.1 per cent in 2005 -2009 to 4.9 per cent in 2010-2015, below the Sustainable Development Goals target of 7 per cent.
- Labour productivity (annual growth rate of real GDP per worker) globally has slowed from an average annual rate of 2.9 per cent from 2000 to 2008 to 1.9 per cent from 2009 to 2016. The slowdown represents a negative development for the global economy, with adverse effects on living standards and real wages.
- The global unemployment rate stood at 5.7 per cent in 2016, with women more likely to be unemployed than men across all age groups. Youth were almost three times as likely as adults to be unemployed, with unemployment rates of 12.8 per cent and 4.4 per cent, respectively, in 2016. Moreover, in more than 76 per cent of countries with data, more than 1 in 10 youth are neither in the educational system nor working. Young women are more likely than young men to fall into that category in almost 70 per cent of countries with data.
- While the number of children from 5 to 17 years of age who are working has declined from 246 million in 2000 to 168 million in 2012, child labour remains a serious concern. More than half of child labourers (85 million children) participate in hazardous work and 59 per cent of them work in the agricultural sector. Girls have made greater progress than boys, with the number of girls engaged in child labour declining by 40 per cent during the period 2000-2012, compared to a decline of 25 per cent for boys.
- Access to financial services enables individuals and firms to manage changes in income, deal with fluctuating cash flows, accumulate assets and make productive investments. Access to financial services through automated teller machines increased by 55 per cent worldwide from 2010 to 2015. Commercial bank branches grew by 5 per cent during the same period, with the lower growth explained by increased digital access to financial services. Globally, there were 60 automated teller machines and 17 commercial bank branches per 100,000 adults in 2015. From 2011 to 2014, 700 million adults became new account holders and the share of adults with an account at a financial institution increased from 51 per cent to 61 per cent.
- After contracting slightly in 2014, aid for trade rose 5.4 per cent in real terms to reach $53.9 billion in 2015 owing to a recovery in commitments for trade-related infrastructure and further growth in support of banking and agriculture. Aid for trade commitments to the least developed countries increased in 2015 by $4.3 billion, reaching $17.2 billion. The Enhanced Integrated Framework, an aid-for-trade programme dedicated to those countries, started its second phase in 2016 and will run to 2022. Donor commitments to the Framework stood at $55.3 million in 2016, with $17.3 million already disbursed to the Trust Fund.