Friday, October 31, 2008


IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations
-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
Cornell University
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor
---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016
-------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau

ILO Bangkok
ILO Asia-Pacific Working Paper Series

Labour market scenarios for the Asian Decent Work Decade in the Pacific Island countries
by Ron Duncan and Carmen Voigt-Graf
Bangkok: ILO, 2008
iv, 32 p.
ISBN 9789221213390 (web pdf)
[full-text, 47 pages]

This paper presents the key trends in the economies and labour markets of Pacific island
countries that are ILO Member Countries and the main issues facing policy makers in promoting
decent and productive employment in these economies. It presents past trends and projections in
population growth and in working-age cohorts, in formal employment, in the labour force and
labour force participation rates, and in national income, and identifies the economic activities that
are most likely to provide growth in formal employment in the countries. It also looks at the role
being played by migration and overseas employment of Pacific islanders. The paper examines the
factors that could most inhibit development of formal labour markets and decent and productive
employment during the Asian Decent Work Decade and the role that the ILO could play in
helping to overcome these obstacles together with other agencies working in the Pacific region.
As the development of appropriate and effective policies will require a solid understanding of
current labour market issues and trends, the paper also identifies the key gaps in statistical
information on the labour market in the Pacific and how the ILO may assist in filling these gaps.
Some key findings in the paper include:

1. Population growth rates are high (above 2 per cent) in the Pacific ILO Member
Countries except in those countries that have easy exit to high-income countries. A result
of the rapid population growth is a large and growing 'youth bulge' in many of the
Pacific countries. Because of the low levels of investment and job creation, the economic
benefits of the youth bulge that were realized in the high economic growth countries of
East Asia are significantly less likely to be realized in the Pacific countries. Moreover, this
youth bulge will ensure that rapid population growth continues for a considerable time.

2. Using population and formal employment projections, estimates have been made of the
potential excess supply of labour in some of the Pacific countries. The projected large
increases in labour are unlikely to be absorbed in the formal labour market in the
Melanesian countries (except Fiji, which has a more moderate increase) and in the
Republic of Marshall Islands, which is a cause for concern.

This information is provided to subscribers, friends, faculty, students and alumni of the School of Industrial & Labor Relations (ILR). It is a service of the Institute for Workplace Studies (IWS) in New York City. Stuart Basefsky is responsible for the selection of the contents which is intended to keep researchers, companies, workers, and governments aware of the latest information related to ILR disciplines as it becomes available for the purposes of research, understanding and debate. The content does not reflect the opinions or positions of Cornell University, the School of Industrial & Labor Relations, or that of Mr. Basefsky and should not be construed as such. The service is unique in that it provides the original source documentation, via links, behind the news and research of the day. Use of the information provided is unrestricted. However, it is requested that users acknowledge that the information was found via the IWS Documented News Service.

Stuart Basefsky                   
Director, IWS News Bureau                
Institute for Workplace Studies 
Cornell/ILR School                        
16 E. 34th Street, 4th Floor             
New York, NY 10016                        
Telephone: (607) 255-2703                
Fax: (607) 255-9641                       

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