Mr. Waikei R Lam, Xiaoguang Liu, and Mr. Alfred Schipke
As China implements reforms under the “new normal,” maintaining stability in the labor market is a
priority. The country’s demography and labor dynamics are changing, after benefitting in past decades
from ample cheap labor. So far, the labor market appears to be resilient, even as growth slows, driven
in part by expansion of the services sector. Migrant flows and possible labor hoarding in overcapacity
sectors may also help explain this. Yet, while the latter two factors help serve as shock absorbers—
contributing to labor market stability in the short term—if they persist, they may delay the needed
adjustment process, contributing to an inefficient allocation of resources and curtailing productivity
gains. This paper quantifies to what extent structural trends and the reform pace affect employment
growth under the new normal. Delays in reform implementation would weaken growth prospects in
the medium term, running the risk that job creation will fall below policy targets, leading to labor
market pressures in the future. In contrast, successful transition might require faster reforms, including
in the overcapacity and state-owned enterprise sectors, supported by well targeted social safety nets.
China’s current growth model— which has delivered steady and robust growth for two decades and lifted some 500 million individuals out of poverty—has become too reliant on credit and investment, and has begun to experience diminishing returns. Delays in advancing the government’s reform agenda will mean that vulnerabilities continue to grow and the probability of stalled convergence increases. On the other hand, with reforms to accelerate TFP growth and shift the economy away from its continued reliance on capital accumulation, China can grow at a healthy pace and maintain its convergence toward the level of high income economies. Evidence from China’s provinces indicates that there is room to improve productivity and sustain such a convergence toward the level of more prosperous economies.
China’s current growth model—which has delivered steady and robust growth for two decades and lifted some 500 million individuals out of poverty—has become too reliant on credit and investment, and has begun to experience diminishing returns. Delays in advancing the government’s reform agenda will mean that vulnerabilities continue to grow and the probability of stalled convergence increases. On the other hand, with reforms to accelerate TFP growth and shift the economy away from its continued reliance on capital accumulation, China can grow at a healthy pace and maintain its convergence toward the level of high income economies. Evidence from China’s provinces indicates that there is room to improve productivity and sustain such a convergence toward the level of more prosperous economies.
This paper finds a negative relationship between the employment share of the service sector and the volatility of aggregate output in the OECD—after controlling for the level of financial development. This result reflects volatility differentials across sectors: labor productivity is more volatile in agriculture and manufacturing than in services. Aggregate output would therefore become less volatile as labor moves away from agriculture and manufacturing and toward the service sector. I examine the quantitative role of these labor shifts—termed structural transformation—on the volatility of aggregate output in OECD countries. I first calibrate to the U.S. economy an indivisible labor model in which the reallocation of labor across sectors emerges endogenously from sectoral labor productivity growth differentials. The setup is then used to generate the time path of labor shares in agriculture, manufacturing and services in individual countries. Finally, I perform a set of counterfactual analyzes in which the reallocation of labor across sectors is constrained endogenously. I find that the secular shift of labor towards the service sector was volatility-reducing in OECD countries during 1970–2006.
This paper gauges the potential effects on employment of rebalancing China's exportoriented growth model toward domestic demand, particularly private consumption. Shifting to a private consumption-led growth likely means more demand for existing and new services as well as reorienting the production of tradable goods toward domestic markets. In China's case, this would also imply moving a large number of less skilled labor from the tradable sector to the nontradable sector. The paper shows that while rebalancing China's growth toward a domestic-demand-led economy would likely raise aggregate employment and employment opportunities in the longer term, there could be employment losses in the short run as the economy moves away from the tradable sector toward the nontradable sector. Mitigating these costs will require active labor market policies to cushion the employment impact in the transition, particularly in meeting the skills gap of associated with this transition.
Finland has undergone a fundamental structural shift from a resource-based to a knowledge-based economy. The productivity surge in the dynamic information and communications technology sector fueled a strong export-driven recovery. However, the optimism of the past year has dissipated, as the global slowdown takes its toll especially on the high-tech sector, including international market leaders such as Nokia. This paper assesses the services sector and its potential for employment creation, in particular in the area of personal services and other services with low skill requirements.
Over the past 25 years, the share of employment accouted for bymanufacturing has fallen dramatically in the world's most advanced economies, a phenomenon widely referred to as "deindustrialization."Many see deindustrialization as widening income inequalities and causinga sharp rise in unemployment. This paper argues that, contrary to popularperception, deindustrialization should not be regarded as alarming, butrather as a natural consequence of continued economic growth within the advanced economies.
All advanced economies have experienced a secular decline in the share of manufacturing employment—a phenomenon referred to as deindustrialization. This paper argues that, contrary to popular perceptions, deindustrialization is not a negative phenomenon, but is the natural consequence of the industrial dynamism in an already developed economy, and that North-South trade has had very little to do with deindustrialization. The paper also discusses the implications of deindustrialization for the growth prospects and the nature of labor market arrangements in the advanced economies.