Pakistan Led South Asian Jobs Growth in 2000-2010

Pakistan's employment growth has been the highest in South Asia region since 2000, followed by Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka in that order, according to a recent World Bank report titled "More and Better Jobs in South Asia".



Total employment in South Asia (excluding Afghanistan and Bhutan) rose from 473 million in 2000 to 568 million in 2010, creating an average of just under 800,000 new jobs a month. In all countries except Maldives and Sri Lanka, the largest share of the employed are the low‐end self-employed.



The report says that nearly a third of workers in India and a fifth of workers in Bangladesh and Pakistan are casual laborers. Regular wage and salaried workers represent a fifth or less of total employment.

Analysis of the labor productivity data indicates that growth in TFP (total factor productivity) made a larger relative contribution to the growth of aggregate labor productivity in South Asia during 1980–2008 than did physical and human capital accumulation. In fact, the contribution of TFP growth was higher than in the high‐performing East Asian economies excluding China.



India's labor productivity growth since 1980 has been the highest in South Asia, followed by Sri Lanka and Pakistan. This was particularly the case in India where TFP rose by 2.6% versus 1.4% in Pakistan during this period.

The report argues that South Asia region needs to create a million jobs a month just to keep up with the growth of the workforce. In addition to corruption, conflicts and political instability, the report specifically mentions electricity shortage as a key factor inhibiting job growth in the region. Power sector financial losses across the region are large, resulting from the misalignment of tariffs, the high cost of power procurement, and high transmission and distribution losses. In India the combined cash loss of state-owned distribution companies is more than $20 billion a year, compared with $300 billion of investment needs in 2010–15. The sector deficit in Pakistan is estimated at about $2 billion a year, compared with $32 billion of investment needs in 2010–20.

Increased load shedding in Pakistan alone has cost 400,000 jobs in recent years, according to the World Bank. Although the World Bank report does not address it directly, the anecdotal evidence suggests that almost all of Pakistan's job growth for the decade occurred from 2000-2007 when the economy showed robust gdp growth. During 2000-2007, Pakistan's economy became one of the four fastest growing economies in Asia with its growth rate averaging 7.0 per cent per year for most of this period. As a result of strong economic growth, Pakistan succeeded in reducing poverty by one-half, creating almost 13 million jobs, halving the country's debt burden, raising foreign exchange reserves to a comfortable position and propping the country's exchange rate, restoring investors' confidence and most importantly, taking Pakistan out of the IMF Program. Contrary to its public criticism of the Musharraf-era economy, the preceding facts were acknowledged by the current government in a Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies (MEFP) for 2008/09-2009/10, while signing agreement with the IMF on November 20, 2008.

It's important for Pakistani government to seriously address the energy and security crises to restore investor confidence and bring back the strong economic growth necessary for creating millions of jobs for its growing youth population entering the workforce. The consequences of inaction on this front would be far more disastrous than the negative effects of the current Taliban insurgency.

Related Links:

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Incompetence Worse Than Corruption in Pakistan

Pakistan's Circular Debt and Load Shedding

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US Fears Aid Will Feed Graft in Pakistan

Pakistan Swallows IMF's Bitter Medicine

Shaukat Aziz's Economic Legacy

Pakistan's Energy Crisis

Karachi Tops Mumbai in Stock Performance

India Pakistan Contrasted 2010

Pakistan's Foreign Visitors Pleasantly Surprised

After Partition: India, Pakistan and Bangladesh

The "Poor" Neighbor by William Dalrymple

Pakistan's Modern Infrastructure

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Pakistan's Choice: Talibanization or Globalization

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IMF-Pakistan Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
From VOA report:

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed.

On a good day, Jamil Hassan will have some 15 customers, and earn an average of $8 a day.

Hassan is one of the millions working in Pakistan's informal economy, the mainstay for the country's vast poor. He never went to school. Cutting hair is all he knows.

"I've been doing this all my life," he said. "My father and grandfather did it before me, so this is what I do."

About 40 percent of all workers in Pakistan have no education. Hassan says illiterate people like him will never make enough to be able to save money.

Economist Ali Kamal says the informal economy can be seen as helping the country's overall economy.

"It absorbs a labor who is otherwise unemployed, it provides services at a cheaper cost and cheaper price to the general public, and it complements the formal sector," he said.

Mohammad Naeem works in a modest seasonal wheat mill, when Pakistan's constant power cuts don't grind work to a halt. Naeem says he would like to have his own business. But he doesn't believe in bank loans or in savings.

"I feel that people should not take loans, not owe money," he said. "That is very important. You should only use what you earn."

Kamal says millions of workers like Naeem and Hassan don't pay taxes, meaning less money for an already cash-strapped state.

"If we collect sales tax from all those informal sectors, it may account for four to five percent of GDP, and if we collect four to five percent GDP in sales tax from those informal activities, then we don't have any budget deficit anymore," he said.

But as of now, the informal sector is providing cheaper goods, services and labor to the formal sector. Analysts say Pakistan would have to reform its entire economic structure to change the situation


http://m.voanews.com/a/millions-labor-in-pakistans-informal-economy/1894009.html
Riaz Haq said…
Unfortunately, cross-country analysis of the connections between manufacturing employment and levels of development has been restricted to OECD countries. This matters because many developing country governments have large programs to stimulate manufacturing activity, on the understanding that jobs and higher incomes will follow.


Ambitious job targets are announced - such as 100 million new manufacturing jobs by 2022 in India. These are typically justified with reference to the experiences of earlier industrializers, like Korea and Taiwan. Public budgets, land and labor regulations, and even education policy are being modified to pursue these manufacturing jobs. We can see why developing countries want these manufacturing jobs: our data show that a country’s peak manufacturing employment share between 1970 and 2010 rather than is its peak manufacturing output share, is a much better predictor of its average per capita GDP in 2005-2010. Controlling for peak manufacturing employment shares and the date that manufacturing activity peaked, peak output shares are insignificant predictors of subsequent prosperity. This suggests that manufacturing output matters for prosperity only insofar as it comes with jobs. Moreover, we show that every country that is rich today, by any reasonable standard, had more than an 18-20% manufacturing employment share sometime since 1970.


It is important to note that industrial activity typically grows with income in poorer countries, peaks, and then falls with income and wages in richer (deindustrializing) countries. There are two reasons we think that manufacturing employment-led development is becoming more challenging.

Labor productivity has risen faster in manufacturing than in the wider economy. Higher levels of manufacturing output are now compatible with lower levels of manufacturing employment.

Manufacturing activity is now more apt to leave for other countries as labor costs rise. Therefore deindustrialization kicks in at lower income levels. Moreover, this premature deindustrialization is more apparent in employment than in output data. Output can be sustained in the face of rising labor costs by replacing workers with machinery. (Arvind Subramaniam and Amrit Amirapu show similar trends in industrial (manufacturing plus mining, utilities and construction) employment using repeated cross-sections of countries.)
Countries still industrialize and then deindustrialize as they become richer. However, industrial employment shares for today’s late industrializers such as China, India and Bangladesh are all below 16%, and on today’s trends seem unlikely to rise much further. Moreover, the per capita income levels at which deindustrialization kicks in have fallen from $34,000 in 1970 to around $9,000 in 2010.

These results urge a balanced approach to industrialization. They confirm that industrialization matters – when it brings jobs; but they also confirm that this is less and less likely to happen. Governments must not neglect manufacturing. Nor can they rely as heavily on it as they once did.


http://blogs.worldbank.org/jobs/manufacturing-conundrum
Riaz Haq said…
They’re (jobs) being obliterated by technology.

Check out your groceries or drugstore purchases using a kiosk? A worker behind a cash register used to do that.

Buy clothes without visiting a store? You’ve taken work from a salesman.

Book your vacation using an online program? You’ve helped lay off a travel agent — perhaps one at American Express Co., which announced this month that it plans to cut 5,400 jobs, mainly in its travel business, as more of its customers shift to online portals to plan trips.

Software is picking out worrisome blots in medical scans, running trains without conductors, analyzing Twitter traffic to tell where to sell certain snacks, sifting through documents for evidence in court cases, recording power usage beamed from digital utility meters at millions of homes, and sorting returned library books.

Year after year, the software that runs computers and an array of other devices becomes more capable of doing tasks that humans have always done. For decades, science fiction warned of a future when we would be architects of our own obsolescence, replaced by our machines; an Associated Press analysis finds that the future has arrived.

‘’I have never seen a period where computers demonstrated as many skills and abilities as they have over the past seven years,” says Andrew McAfee, principal research scientist at the Center for Digital Business at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and co-author of “Race Against the Machine.”

The global economy is being reshaped by machines that generate and analyze vast amounts of data; by devices such as smartphones and tablet computers that let people work just about anywhere, even when they’re on the move; by smarter, nimbler robots; and by services that let businesses rent computing power when they need it, instead of installing expensive equipment and hiring IT staffs to run it. Whole employment categories, from secretaries to travel agents, are disappearing.

“There’s no sector of the economy that’s going to get a pass,” says Martin Ford, who runs a software company and wrote “The Lights in the Tunnel,” a book predicting widespread job losses. “It’s everywhere.”

The numbers startle even labor economists. In the United States, half of the 7.5 million jobs lost during the Great Recession paid middle-class wages, ranging from $38,000 to $68,000. But only 2 percent of the 3.5 million jobs gained since the recession ended in June 2009 are midpay. Nearly 70 percent are low-paying jobs; 29 percent pay well.

In the 17 European countries that use the euro as their currency, the numbers are even worse. Almost 4.3 million low-pay jobs have been gained since mid-2009, but the loss of midpay jobs has never stopped. A total of 7.6 million disappeared from January 2008 through last June.

Some occupations are beneficiaries of the march of technology, such as software engineers and app designers. But, overall, technology is eliminating far more jobs than it is creating.

To better understand the impact of technology on jobs, The Associated Press analyzed employment data from 20 countries; and interviewed economists, technology experts, robot manufacturers, software developers, CEOs, and workers who are competing with smarter machines.

The AP’s key findings:

■ Over the past 50 years, technology has drastically reduced the number of jobs in manufacturing. Robots and other machines controlled by computer programs work faster and make fewer mistakes than humans. Now, that same efficiency is being unleashed in the service economy.

■ Technology is being adopted by every kind of organization that employs people — in large corporations and small businesses, established companies and startups, schools, hospitals, nonprofits and the military.


http://jacksonville.com/news/national/2013-01-28/story/ap-investigation-technology-killing-millions-middle-class-jobs
Riaz Haq said…
From The Economist Mag: A robotic sewing machine could throw garment workers in low-cost countries out of a job


HUMAN hands are extremely good at making clothes. While many manufacturing processes have been automated, stitching together garments remains a job for millions of people around the world. As with most labour-intensive tasks, much of the work has migrated to low-wage countries, especially in Asia. Factory conditions can be gruelling. As nations develop and wages rise, the trade moves on to the next cheapest location: from China, to Bangladesh and, now that it is opening up, Myanmar. Could that migration be about to end with the development of a robotic sewing machine?

There have been many attempts to automate sewing. Some processes can now be carried out autonomously: the cutting of fabric, for instance, and sometimes sewing buttons or pockets. But it is devilishly difficult to make a machine in which fabric goes in one end and finished garments, such as jeans and T-shirts, come out the other. The particularly tricky bit is stitching two pieces of material together. This involves aligning the material correctly to the sewing head, feeding it through and constantly adjusting the fabric to prevent it slipping and buckling, while all the time keeping the stitches neat and the thread at the right tension. Nimble fingers invariably prove better at this than cogs, wheels and servo motors.

“The distortion of the fabric is no longer an issue. That’s what prevented automatic sewing in the past,” says Steve Dickerson, the founder of SoftWear Automation, a textile-equipment manufacturer based in Atlanta, where Dr Dickerson was a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

The company is developing machines which tackle the problems of automated sewing in a number of ways. They use cameras linked to a computer to track the stitching. Researchers have tried using machine vision before, for instance by having cameras detect the edge of a piece of fabric to work out where to stitch.

The Atlanta team, however, have greatly increased accuracy by using high-speed photography to capture up to 1,000 frames per second. These images are then manipulated by software to produce a higher level of contrast. This more vivid image allows the computer to pick out individual threads in the fabric. Instead of measuring the fabric the robotic sewing machine counts the number of threads to determine the stitching position. As a consequence, any distortion to the fabric made by each punch of the needle can be measured extremely accurately. These measurements also allow the “feed dog”, which gently pulls fabric through the machine, to make constant tiny adjustments to keep things smooth and even.


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Shoemakers are already using 3D printers, which build up material additively, to make prototypes of shoes. Exotic clothing and shoes made with 3D printers are becoming regulars on the catwalks at many of the world’s leading fashion shows, although the materials they are printed from tend to be various sorts of plastic, which can make the garments somewhat clunky and shoes a bit clog-like. However, researchers are working on ways to print more flexible materials. One such project involves a collaboration between Disney, Cornell University and Carnegie Mellon University. Their 3D printer uses layers of off-the-shelf fabric to make soft objects, such as cuddly toys.


http://www.economist.com/news/technology-quarterly/21651925-robotic-sewing-machine-could-throw-garment-workers-low-cost-countries-out?fsrc=scn/tw/te/pe/ed/madetomeasure
Riaz Haq said…
Raghuram Rajan flags India's biggest worry that could cost Modi a win in 2019 elections: Slow Job Growth

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/raghuram-rajan-flags-indias-biggest-worry-that-could-cost-modi-a-win-in-2019-elections/articleshow/60434472.cms

"Remember that we have what we call the population dividend. A million new people entering the labor force every month," Rajan said. "If we don’t provide these jobs that are required, you have a million dissatisfied entrants. And that could create a lot of social mischief."

Rajan is right in this aspect. India will have the world’s biggest labor force by 2027 and the millennial generation is crucial to anchor one of the fastest paces of economic growth. However, fresh employment opp ..

Under Modi, just over 10,000 jobs a month are being created instead, according to government figures from 2015.

Read more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/60434472.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
Riaz Haq said…
Are we entering into a "jobless" growth phase in South Asia?

By Dr. Selim Raihan, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and Executive Director, South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM).

http://www.thedailystar.net/opinion/economics/are-we-entering-jobless-growth-phase-south-asia-1459387

The relationship between economic growth and employment is an important issue in economics discourse. Promotion of inclusive growth also requires economic growth processes to be employment friendly. The measure that captures the employment effect of economic growth is the "employment elasticity" of economic growth, which is the ratio of percentage change in employment to the percentage change in real gross domestic product (GDP).

We have calculated the employment elasticity with respect to the change in real GDP for the South Asian countries for three different periods from 2001 to 2015. There are mixed patterns among the South Asian countries. During 2001 and 2005, Maldives had the largest employment elasticities (1.39) and Sri Lanka had the lowest one (0.08). India, with a share of 75 percent of the total population in South Asia, had the employment elasticity of only 0.38, one of the lowest in South Asia. Two other large countries, Pakistan and Bangladesh, had employment elasticities of 0.70 and 0.77 respectively.

For the period of 2006-2010, India experienced a drastic fall in employment elasticity to only 0.03 despite the fact that the average GDP growth rate of India increased from 6.6 percent (2001-2005) to more than 8 percent (2006-2010). Over these periods, Bangladesh also had a similar experience where employment elasticity declined from 0.77 to 0.4 in the wake of a rising average GDP growth rate from 5 to 6 percent. While Afghanistan, Maldives, and Nepal also experienced a decline, Pakistan and Sri Lanka could increase the elasticities.

Over the recent period between 2011 and 2015, Bangladesh experienced a further fall in the employment elasticity to 0.28, while India's improvement is meagre (from 0.03 to only 0.09). Despite the slower economic growth rates during this period, Afghanistan, Maldives, Nepal, and Pakistan could increase their employment elasticities. Sri Lanka had a further fall in employment elasticity to only 0.14. During this period, India had the least employment elasticity among all South Asian countries.


The aforementioned analysis points to the concern that two major South Asian countries, India and Bangladesh, experienced a substantial reduction in employment elasticities throughout the periods of high economic growth. While during 2001 and 2005, the annual average job creation in Bangladesh and India were 1.6 million and 11.3 million respectively, in 2011-2015, such numbers declined to 1 million and 3.2 million for Bangladesh and India respectively. Most of the other South Asian countries experienced either volatile, or slow or stagnant economic growth, and therefore, despite a rise in employment elasticities, the actual employment generation in these countries had not been substantial. It is also important to mention that while SDG 8 talks about ensuring "decent" jobs for all, South Asian countries are seriously lagging far behind. In most of the South Asian countries, there are persistent employment challenges such as lack of economic diversification, poor working conditions, low productivity and a high degree of informality. This is reflected by the fact that among the top five countries in the world with very high proportion of informal employment in total employment, four are from South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan).
Riaz Haq said…
Why #India is now detached from the world, sitting out the global recovery in growth and jobs? #Modi https://blogs.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/toi-edit-page/uniquely-indian-problems-why-india-is-now-detached-from-the-world-sitting-out-the-global-recovery-in-growth-and-jobs/ … via @TOIOpinion by Ruchir Sharma

In the global jobs picture, India stands out as even more of a sore thumb. The worldwide unemployment rate, as calculated by JP Morgan research, is almost back to its pre-2008 crisis low of 5.5 per cent. Developed economies from the UK to Japan have the lowest unemployment rates seen in many decades. In emerging economies, the unemployment rate has been falling since 2014 and this year even countries such as Russia and Brazil, which experienced deep recessions, are seeing a marked improvement in the labour market. In India, meanwhile poor quality data makes it difficult to put a number on the job woes, but the available data is grim and news stories about jobs losses abound.

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The best explanation lies in recent domestic policy moves, as until last year both India and emerging markets broadly were slowing down in sync. A disconnect began late last year when growth in emerging markets started recovering and India kept slowing.
The first of the policy moves was the unique demonetisation experiment. The second was the Goods and Services Tax, which was supposed to bring India in line with global standards but instead added typically Indian layers of complexity. These policies disrupted local businesses, including exporters. Imports have surged to meet consumer demand, widening the trade deficit and cutting into GDP growth.
It is disappointing that India is missing out on the global revival in economic growth, but perhaps even more troubling that it is missing out on jobs growth – a trend that precedes the GDP slowdown but has also gotten worse over the past year.
Many commentators are blaming these troubles on global forces. In India, especially, it is popular to talk about how automation is taking jobs away from humans. But the global jobs boom suggests that there is little evidence for such losses. At any point in time technology is destroying some traditional jobs, and creating them in new industries.
India’s apologists also point to “premature deindustrialisation”, the idea that it is increasingly difficult for countries to export their way to prosperity, because of a more competitive environment for manufacturing globally and slumping world trade. Even though trade volumes have perked up this year, they are well below the pace seen before 2008. And competing in global manufacturing, which was always the most important path to mass employment, is harder now following the rise of China.

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