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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

Progress towards SDG 8 faces challenges from COVID-19 aftermath, trade tensions, rising debts in developing nations, conflicts, and geopolitical strains, collectively threatening global economic growth. While labour markets have shown resilience, uneven pandemic recovery, the declining protection of labor rights and emerging vulnerabilities erode social justice prospects. The report foresees a worsening labour market outlook, with higher unemployment and sluggish growth in 2024, exacerbating income inequality and jeopardizing equitable pay for women and decent work for young people. Achieving SDG 8 mandates policies fostering economic growth with a focus on social justice and inclusive employment.

Target 8.1: After a sharp 3.9% decline in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the global economy rebounded with a 5.3% increase in real GDP per capita in 2021. However, growth slowed to 2.2% in 2022 and is forecasted to slow down further to 1.0% in 2023, before picking up slightly to 1.8% and 1.5% in 2024 and 2025, respectively. For LDCs, real GDP growth dropped from 5.1% in 2019 to 0.7% in 2020, then recovered to 3.8% in 2021 and 4.6% in 2022. Growth is expected to rise to 4.4% and 5.5% in 2023 and 2024. However, it's projected to slow down to 4.9% in 2025.

Target 8.2: Productivity growth stagnated in 2022 and 2023, remaining below 0.5%. This sluggish trend stands in stark contrast to the pre-pandemic period of 2015 to 2019, where the rate exceeded 1.5%. The pandemic sharply interrupted this trend, with 2020 registering a marked decline as output fell faster than employment—though this was fully offset by a short-lived rebound of productivity during 2021. The recent slow productivity growth poses a risk to economic development and living standards, given its crucial role as a driver of growth.

Target 8.3: In 2023, over 2 billion workers globally were employed informally, accounting for 58.0% of the global workforce. This figure is expected to see a marginal decrease to 57.8% in 2024. The decline of the informality rate by less than a percentage point since 2015 is far too slow for widespread formalization to occur anytime soon.

Target 8.5: In 2023, the global unemployment rate not only rebounded, dipping below its pre-pandemic level, but also achieved a historic low since 2000, settling at 5.1%. However, projections indicate a slight increase in global unemployment in 2024, with approximately 2 million more individuals unemployed, leading to a 5.2% unemployment rate. Women and youth continue to experience higher unemployment rates compared to their male and adult counterparts worldwide and across most regions.

Target 8.6: In 2023, the global NEET (not in education, employment, or training) rate for young people was 21.7%, showing a significant decrease since 2020 and nearing the 2015 baseline of 21.8%. This rate is expected to persist through 2025. There is a critical need to intensify initiatives aimed at reducing NEET rates among youth, especially focusing on young women. Globally, young women are still more than twice as likely as young men to be NEET.

Target 8.8: o Globally, many workers face significant risks in their workplaces, and work accidents remain prevalent. In 11 out of 93 countries with data, more than 10 work-related fatalities per 100,000 workers were reported. Additionally, in half of the 96 countries with available data, the number of non-fatal injuries per 100,000 workers exceeded 641. 

o From 2015 to 2022, the global average level of national compliance with labor rights declined by 7%. This decline is observed across both developed and developing countries and has become more pronounced in all regions since 2020. Recent data indicates that ongoing crises have led to an increase in violations of labour rights in practice and, alarmingly, by violations of fundamental civil liberties of workers, employers, and their organizations.

Target 8.9: In 2022, tourism rebounded to 82% of its 2019 level, contributing 3.1% to global GDP. Lifted travel restrictions and pent-up demand drove this recovery, but regional differences persist. Oceania excluding Australia and New Zealand and SIDS still faced challenges, with tourism economic performance at 68% and 43% of pre-pandemic levels respectively.

Target 8.10: Since 2015, global access to finance has increased, but recent years show changes in access methods. The number of ATMs per 100,000 adults declined from 64.6 in 2015 to 63.9 in 2022, while commercial bank branches dropped from 15.0 to 13.7 per 100,000 adults. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the shift towards digital financial access. This reflects a global decline in bank branches, except in Central Asia, Southern Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Target 8.10: The Global Findex 2021 reports that despite 76% of adults having a financial account, 41% lack financial resilience. Financial resilience means being unable to access extra funds equivalent to 5% of their country's gross national income within 30 days of a financial shock like a health emergency or job loss. This varies by region, with South Asia being the least financially resilient (only 32%) and East Asia the most (77%).

Target 8.b: In 2023, less than half of the reporting countries (36 out of 87) had implemented a national strategy for youth employment. About one-third of these countries possess a strategy but lack clear evidence of its implementation, while one-fifth are in the process of developing one.