Demographics and Destiny

2020-03-02T17:22:06-05:00March 2, 2020|

By Gita Bhatt

When I visit my home country, India, I am always struck by how young it looks. From the big cities to the tiny villages, one can see the hopes and aspirations of twenty-somethings, many in search of work. In Japan, demographic trends have been moving in the opposite direction. Homes sit vacant, and villages are vanishing, as people have fewer children. In response, the Japanese are embracing technology to fill the gaps through innovations like robot chefs and automated medical services. […]

Lasting Effects: The Global Economic Recovery 10 Years After the Crisis

2019-03-13T13:38:40-04:00October 3, 2018|

By Wenjie Chen, Mico Mrkaic, and Malhar Nabar

October 3, 2018

عربي,中文, Español, Français, Baˈhasa indoneˈsia, 日本語, Português, Русский

Woman cleaning in Berlin, Germany: the 2008 global financial crisis has had long-lasting effects on economic growth (photo: Caro/Olaf Jandke/Newscom)

In the year following the 2008 financial crisis, economic activity declined in half of all countries in the world. Our analysis in Chapter 2 of the October World Economic Outlook shows that in many countries output is still well below levels that would have prevailed had output followed its precrisis trend. […]

Migration: A Global Issue in Need of a Global Solution

2019-03-27T14:15:13-04:00November 11, 2015|

2014MDNEW_04By Christine Lagarde

(Versions in عربي中文Français, 日本語, РусскийTürk, and Español)

As the Group of Twenty leaders gather in Turkey this weekend, they will have on their minds heartbreaking images of displaced people fleeing countries gripped by armed conflict and economic distress.  The surge of refugees in the last few years has reached levels not seen in decades. And these numbers could increase further in the near future. 

The immediate priority must be to help the refugees—who bear the heaviest burden, and too often tragically—with better access to shelter, health care and quality education.

Many of the countries neighboring conflict zones—which have welcomed most of the refugees—have stretched their capacity to absorb people to the limit. To support additional public services for refugees, they will require more financial resources. The international community must play its part. With the IMF’s support, for example, Jordan has been able to adjust its fiscal targets to help meet this need.

[…]

Foreign Help Wanted: Easing Japan’s Labor Shortages

2019-03-27T15:23:44-04:00August 24, 2015|

By Giovanni Ganelli and Naoko Miake

(Version in 日本語)

Take a walk in Tokyo, and you will see the sign スタッフ募集中, or “Staff Wanted”, outside many restaurants and convenience stores. These businesses often find it impossible to recruit the workers they need. According to recent statistics, for each job seeker in Japan applying to work as a waiter, there are more than three available positions. Home helpers and long-term caregivers are equally in demand. If you want to work as a security guard, you can choose from around five openings, and for some positions in the construction business the job-to-applicant ratio is over six.

Japan’s labor shortages are the result of both a shrinking population—which limits the overall pool of workers—and skill mismatches. The reduced supply of labor is one of the factors bringing down medium-term potential growth, which the International Monetary Fund estimates at just 0.6 percent. Labor market shortages are also bad for short-term growth, because they reduce the effectiveness of the monetary and fiscal stimulus that the authorities are using to try to boost demand.

[…]

Close But Not There Yet: Getting to Full Employment in the United States

2019-03-27T17:41:09-04:00April 28, 2015|

By Ravi Balakrishnan and Juan Solé

(Version in Español)

Last month’s report on U.S. jobs was disappointing, with far fewer jobs than expected added in March. A longer-term look at trends yields a different picture, however. Over the past year, U.S. job creation has been impressive. Payroll gains have averaged 260,000 per month—well above the 160,000 monthly average seen throughout the 2010–13 recovery.

[…]

Down But Not Out

2017-04-14T01:45:45-04:00March 2, 2015|

Jeff Hayden altBy Jeff Hayden

We drew our inspiration for Finance & Development‘s cover from Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Rivera, a Mexican artist, was commissioned in 1932 to paint the 27-panel visual epic as a tribute to the city’s assembly-line workers, scientists, doctors, secretaries, and laborers, many of whom were struggling at the time to keep their jobs amid the devastation of the Great Depression.

[…]

Top Five Policy Priorities to Brighten America’s Economic Future

2017-04-14T01:51:56-04:00November 5, 2014|

Deniz IganBy Deniz Igan

(version in Español)

There was a time in the not-so-distant past when science fiction could make us look forward to a better world. We had uplifting visions of the future in shows like Star Trek and Back to the Future. Today, the menu of options only offers a dystopian world ruined by poverty and violence (think The Hunger Games, Divergent, or Elysium).

It sure is easy to get pessimistic these days. Six years after the financial crisis, the recovery in the United States has been fragile and weaker than anything we have seen in the post-WWII period. Growth figures, in large part, have been serial disappointments, disrupted by government shutdowns, debt ceiling showdowns, or meteorologically-triggered slowdowns.

[…]

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