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Employment, Under-employment and Unemployment in Africa
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World Economics, October 2019
Africa’s fast-growing markets should be producing far more commercial opportunities for its businesses and yielding far more jobs for its people, but they are not. If there is genuine economic growth occurring in Africa’s major cities then current data and the view from the street are not reflecting it. Jobless growth haunts the cities of Africa.
The Changing Quality of Employment and the Sequencing of Reforms in China
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Nomaan Majid, World Economics, September 2019
The paper charts the process through which employment has been transformed in China. Measures of employment quality captured by estimates of regular and non-regular employment and unemployment are used to form a view of the changing employment situation. The increase in the share of regular employment in total employment, from 40.1% in 1990 to 62.7% in 2011, is staggering for the most populous country in the world. This is what lies behind the improvement in employment in China. This paper argues that factors behind the improvement in employment in China can be traced to sequenced policy shifts in sector growth strategies on one hand, and the gradual removal of effective constraints on the physical movement of labour on the other. In other words China has managed its process of structural change.
Measuring Employment in Developing Countries
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Nomaan Majid, World Economics, September 2014
This paper is concerned with measuring categories of employment that have an economy-wide meaning in the developing world. Employment has always had two interconnected sides, output and income, and these two dimensions of employment operate under very different conditions in advanced and developing economies. A developing economy is divided into two parts, organised and unorganised in respect of labour. A large amount of surplus labour exists in the unorganised part creating underemployment that manifests itself in a range of forms of employed labour. In this situation the headcount of the employed overestimates economy-wide employment; and the headcount of the unemployed seriously underestimates economy-wide unemployment.
How Many US Jobs Might be Offshorable?
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Alan S. Blinder, World Economics, June 2009
Using detailed information on the nature of work done in over 800 US Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational codes, this paper ranks those occupations according to how easy/hard it is to offshore the work – either physically or electronically. Using this ranking, it is estimated that somewhere between 22% and 29% of all US jobs are or will be potentially offshorable within a decade or two. (No estimate is made of how many jobs will actually be offshored.) Since the rankings are subjective, two alternatives are presented – one is entirely objective, the other is an independent subjective ranking. In general, they corroborate the rankings, albeit not perfectly. It is found that there is little or no correlation between an occupation’s ‘offshorability’ and the skill level of its workers (as measured either by educational attainment or wages). However, it appears that, controlling for education, the most highly offshorable occupations were already paying significantly lower wages in 2004.

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