Goal 8 policies: where we stand
Over the last year, which has seen the country hit hard by the socio-economic effects of the pandemic crisis, various interventions have been implemented with impacts on growth and employment, however there is still a long way to go to recover the lost ground and fill the delays accumulated with the Great Recession, especially if Italy is to be allowed to align itself with the European average.
With regard to Goal 8 (Decent work and economic growth), the ASviS 2021 Report in fact underlined that although the recent easing of restrictive measures, the global cycle of “rebound” and the effects of the European stimulus of the last period have made it possible to record positive signs at a macroeconomic level, the gaps at the national and supranational levels remain deep. For the employment data, for example, there are significant discrepancies with respect to the ambition outlined by the new European Pillar for social rights which indicates to reach a 78% increase in the employment rate by 2030: “On this front, Italy is it is shown behind compared to similar European and non-European countries, with employment growth rates that make it impossible to reach the target “.
The government’s economic planning has allocated much of the expectations for growth to National recovery and resilience plan (Pnrr) which, the Report recalls, will not unfold its full effects until the completion of the projects in 2026, when the impact on GDP is estimated at 3.6% per year. Although this is a positive figure compared to the performance of past years, it must be remembered that there remains a considerable gap with pre-crisis GDP per capita.
On the subject of the birth rate, down in the country, reordering bonuses is a promising step, even if the implementation must be monitored: the Baby Bonus – also called Birth Allowance, paid up to the child’s first year of age (or the first year of entry into the family unit following adoption or pre-adoption foster care) – it will be replaced by the Child Bonus, the Single Family Allowance, and will cover up to the 21st birthday of the dependent child.
“Numerous members of the NRP allocate resources and propose actions aimed at bridging the gap in terms of digitization”, the Report also underlines. Particularly interesting is the attention (albeit minimal) given to the development of space economy, a sector that deals with research, development and construction of space infrastructures, capable of absorbing highly qualified employment.
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Europe and the Goal 8
The European composite indicator relating to Goal 8 records a substantially stable trend between 2010 and 2013, followed by a positive trend between 2015 and 2019. All the indicators analyzed, in 2019, are in fact at a higher level than the 2010. The trends in disposable income are particularly positive (+4,101 euros per capita between 2010 and 2019) and the mortality rate at work, dropped from 2.3 to 1.8 deaths per 100 thousand workers (between 2010 and 2018). Also noteworthy is the improvement, between 2010 and 2019, of number of Neet – or unemployed young people who are not included in an education or training course – (from 15.4% to 12.6%) and employment rate (from 67.9% to 73.2%): both, however, are still too far from the objectives set by the European Pillar for social rights (9% and 78% respectively), to be achieved by 2030.
Goal 8 shows a large difference (29.8 percentage points) between the best European country (Netherlands) and the worst (Greece). Italy, together with the latter country, it is the only European nation to measure, in 2019, a lower level than in 2010, positioning itself in penultimate position in the EU ranking. This is due to the higher share of Neet (22.2% in 2019 against 12.6% in the EU), involuntary part-time (65.8% compared to 26.5% in the EU) and the lower rate of employment (63.5% in 2019 against 73.2% in the EU).
The complete list of the basic indicators on which the European composite indicators are built can be consulted here.
Italy and the Goal 8
After a first year of substantial stability, the Italian composite indicator of Goal 8 underwent a marked deterioration from 2011 to 2014, feeling the effects of the economic crisis of those years. From 2015 to 2019 follows a period of slow improvement, not sufficient to bring Italy back to the levels observed before the economic crisis. Particularly, in 2019, a worse level than 2010 is observed for indicators relating to gross fixed investments compared to GDP (-10.3%), to involuntary part-time share (+4.9 percentage points) and al rate of non-participation in work (+1.4 percentage points).
The Goal 8 composite suffered in the 2020 substantially of the effects of the pandemic. We are witnessing a worsening of per capita GDP (-8.4%), which passes, between 2019 and 2020, from € 28,893 to € 26,453. Also decreases the ratio of gross fixed investments to GDP, despite the strong contraction of the latter. Negative signals also come from the labor market where the employment rate (20-64 years) drops by almost one percentage point, reaching 62.6% and moving away from the European target of 78%, to be reached by 2030. The indicator relating to share of Neet shows a negative trend and in the last year recorded the worst value among all EU countries, equal to 23.3%.
The complete list of the basic indicators on which the national composite indicators are built can be consulted here.
The ASviS proposals on “Decent work and economic growth”
- Ensure that the theme of the younger generations, indicated as transversal by the NRP, has an effective value in the planning of public policies. In this sense, the impact of the measures on young people should be evaluated ex ante, with particular attention to the issue of work (thus responding to the ambition of the Next Generation Eu).
- Create a work table to design a National employment plan, with a priority focus on youth, female and Southern Italy employment, involving key stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
- Establish guidelines to achieve theo development of work skills existing and the retraining of male and female workers, aimed at acquiring new skills. At European level, this objective requires the participation of at least 60% of adults in training courses every year, with the aim of promoting the integration of young people into the world of work, increasing learning programs (during and after school ‘obligation) and stimulating relations with the private sector, so that the training courses respond to the needs of the market and are aimed at green, digital and demographic transitions.
- Give substance to the promises of simplification and transparency in administrative procedures.
- Place the circular economy at the center of economic development and job creation, focusing on a national strategy that encourages the redevelopment of industrial areas and employment in sectors with low consumption of raw materials.
See all the proposals for Goal 8
by Flavio Natale
|The ASviS 2021 Report “Italy and the Sustainable Development Goals”, presented on 28 September on the occasion of the opening event of the Sustainable Development Festival, evaluates the progress with respect to the 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda and makes concrete proposals, shared by the experts of the organizations belonging to the Alliance, to bring Italy on a path of sustainable development at an environmental, social, economic and institutional level.|
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