United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Targets and Indicators



Sustain per capita economic growth in accordance with national circumstances and, in particular, at least 7 per cent gross domestic product growth per annum in the least developed countries


Annual growth rate of real GDP per capita



Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors


Annual growth rate of real GDP per employed person



Promote development-oriented policies that support productive activities, decent job creation, entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation, and encourage the formalization and growth of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises, including through access to financial services


Proportion of informal employment in total employment, by sector and sex



Improve progressively, through 2030, global resource efficiency in consumption and production and endeavour to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, in accordance with the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, with developed countries taking the lead


Material footprint, material footprint per capita, and material footprint per GDP


Domestic material consumption, domestic material consumption per capita, and domestic material consumption per GDP



By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value


Average hourly earnings of female and male employees, by occupation, age and persons with disabilities


Unemployment rate, by sex, age and persons with disabilities



By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training


Proportion of youth (aged 15-24 years) not in education, employment or training



Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and by 2025 end child labour in all its forms


Proportion and number of children aged 5‑17 years engaged in child labour, by sex and age



Protect labour rights and promote safe and secure working environments for all workers, including migrant workers, in particular women migrants, and those in precarious employment


Fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries per 100,000 workers, by sex and migrant status


Level of national compliance with labour rights (freedom of association and collective bargaining) based on International Labour Organization (ILO) textual sources and national legislation, by sex and migrant status



By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products


Tourism direct GDP as a proportion of total GDP and in growth rate



Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all


(a) Number of commercial bank branches per 100,000 adults and (b) number of automated teller machines (ATMs) per 100,000 adults


Proportion of adults (15 years and older) with an account at a bank or other financial institution or with a mobile-money-service provider



Increase Aid for Trade support for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, including through the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Trade-Related Technical Assistance to Least Developed Countries


Aid for Trade commitments and disbursements



By 2020, develop and operationalize a global strategy for youth employment and implement the Global Jobs Pact of the International Labour Organization


Existence of a developed and operationalized national strategy for youth employment, as a distinct strategy or as part of a national employment strategy

Progress and Info

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic unleashed the worst economic crisis in decades, with a severely damaging impact on working time and income. Although the global economy started to rebound in 2021, waves of spreading COVID-19 infections together with rising inflation, major supply chain disruptions, policy uncertainties and unsustainable debt of developing countries caused the global economy to slow down at the end of 2021. The conflict in Ukraine is expected to seriously set back global economic growth in 2022.

Following an increase of about 1.4 per cent in 2019, global real GDP per capita decreased sharply by 4.4 per cent in 2020. Global real GDP per capita is estimated to have rebounded at a growth rate of 4.4 per cent in 2021 and is projected to increase again by 3.0 per cent in 2022 and 2.5 per cent in 2023 based on pre-war estimations. The war in Ukraine is likely to downgrade global growth. The real GDP of least developed countries had increased by 5.0 per cent in 2019 but showed no growth in 2020 because of the disruption caused by the pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in unprecedented, volatile developments in labour productivity levels. Globally, output per worker grew at an average annual rate of 1.6 per cent between 2015 and 2019. In 2020, the output per worker dropped by 0.6 per cent, the first such decline since 2009. Global labour productivity rebounded sharply in 2021, rising by 3.2 per cent. 86. Prior to the onset of the pandemic, informal employment represented 60.2 per cent of global employment in 2019. COVID-19 pandemic containment measures and mobility restrictions prevented labour reallocation to informal employment. Rather than become unemployed or shift to informal jobs, as in previous crises, laid -off employees and self-employed workers alike left the labour force. A disproportionate impact on informal workers was reflected in a decline in the informal employment rate in some countries at the height of the crisis, which has left informal workers and their families in a highly precarious position, exposed to sudden income losses and heightened risks of falling into poverty.

Equal treatment in employment is part and parcel of decent work. Globally women continue to be paid 19 per cent less than men according to an International Labour Organization (ILO) 2018/2019 study. In 87 per cent of countries with recent data, professionals earn per hour on average more than double what workers in elementary occupations earn.

In 2021, the global unemployment rate declined slightly to 6.2 per cent, which is still well above the pre-pandemic rate of 5.4 per cent. ILO projects that unemployment will remain above its 2019 level until at least 2023. Meanwhile, the level of unemployment underestimates the full employment impact of the crisis since many who left the labour force have not come back nor does it reflect the reduction in working hours for those who remained employed. In 2021, 4.3 per cent of global working hours were lost compared with the fourth quarter of 2019, which is equivalent to a deficit of 125 million full-time jobs (assuming a 48‑hour working week).

The proportion of the world’s youth not in education, employment or training (NEET) is now at its highest level since 2005. The NEET rate had remained unchanged from 2015 to 2019 at 21.8 per cent but increased to 23.3 per cent in 2020, representing an addition of almost 20 million youth. Although youth represented only 13 per cent of total employment before the crisis, they made up 34.2 per cent of the 2020 decline in employment. Meanwhile, both technical and vocational education and on-the-job training suffered massive disruption, forcing many young people to quit their studies.

Latest estimates indicate that the number of children in child labour rose to 160 million (63 million girls and 97 million boys) worldwide at the beginning of 2020, representing an increase of 8.4 million children in the last four years and translating into almost 1 in 10 of all children in child labour worldwide.

Global GDP from tourism nearly halved between 2019 and 2020 and the sector faced its worst crisis in recent history, with businesses, employment and livelihoods around the world severely impacted. After a marked positive trend over the past decade and reaching $3.4 trillion in 2019 or 4 per cent of global GDP, the economic contribution of tourism plummeted to $1.8 trillion or 2.3 per cent of world GDP in 2020.

Access to finance has continued to rise worldwide since 2015, with new modes of access playing an increasingly important role in more recent years. Globally, the number of ATMs per 100,000 adults grew from 65.3 in 2015 to 67.3 in 2020. By contrast, the number of commercial bank branches per 100,000 decreased slightly from 15.2 in 2015 to 14.4 in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have further reinforced the use of digital modes of financial access, whereas both indicators declined globally and in most regions from 2019 to 2020.

The development and implementation of national youth employment strategies are increasing across most regions. Out of 81 countries reporting in 2021, more than half have operationalized such strategies, while slightly less than one third have developed one but did not provide conclusive evidence on implementation

Source: Progress Towards Sustainable Development Goals- Report of the Secretary General 

For more information, please, check: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2022/