United NationsDepartment 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 non‑agriculture employment, by 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


Frequency rates of fatal and non-fatal occupational injuries, by sex and migrant status


Increase in national compliance of 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


Number of jobs in tourism industries as a proportion of total jobs and growth rate of jobs, by sex



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


Number of commercial bank branches and 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


Total government spending in social protection and employment programmes as a proportion of the national budgets and GDP

Progress and Info

Even before the current crisis, the global economy was growing at a slower rate than in previous years notwithstanding improvements in labour productivity and unemployment. The pandemic has abruptly and profoundly disrupted it, pushing the world into a recession. The unprecedented shock to the world’s labour markets is expected to result in a decrease of around 10.5 per cent in aggregate working hours in the second quarter of 2020, equivalent to 305 million full-time workers. Small and medium enterprises, workers in informal employment, the self-employed, daily wage earners and workers in sectors at the highest risk of disruption have been hit the hardest.

In 2018, the rate of growth of global real GDP per capita was 2 per cent. In addition, the rate for least developed countries was 4.5 per cent in 2018, less than the 7 per cent growth rate targeted in the 2030 Agenda. The pandemic is pushing the world into the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression.

After a brief interruption during the global economic downturn of 2008–2009, labour productivity has continued to grow; in 2019, it increased by 1.4 per cent from the previous year.

Globally, 61 per cent of workers were in informal employment in 2016. The need to rely on informal employment was more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa and Central and Southern Asia, where 89 per cent and 86 per cent of workers, respectively, were in such employment. Owing to the unemployment and underemployment caused by the current crisis, some 1.6 billion workers in the informal economy, half of the global workforce, are affected significantly. Globally, the income of informal workers is estimated to fall by 60 per cent in the first months of the crisis.

Data on average hourly earnings cast light on income inequality. In a global study conducted by the International Labour Organization, a factor-weighted gender pay gap of 19 per cent in 2017 was revealed.

In 2019, the global unemployment rate stood at 5 per cent, with the highest rate, 11 per cent, in Northern Africa and Western Asia. The rate was considerably higher among young workers than for adults in all regions in 2019, with the difference reaching 18 percentage points in Northern Africa and Western Asia, 15 percentage points in Central and Southern Asia and 12 percentage points in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In 2019, 22 per cent of the world’s young people were not in employment, education or training, a figure that has hardly changed since 2005.

In 2018, aid for trade commitments remained stable, at $58 billion, based on current prices. South and Central Asia received the highest share thereof (31.4 per cent), followed by sub-Saharan Africa (29.2 per cent). Lower-middle-income countries received 37.5 per cent of aid for trade, followed by least developed countries (36.8 per cent).

According to data for 2019 from 102 countries, 98 per cent had a youth employment strategy or a plan to develop one in the near future.

Source: Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, Report of the Secretary-General, https://undocs.org/en/E/2020/57