Asia-Pacific on the road to Middle-class employment: ILO.

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© S.D. McCourtie / World Bank 2013

Strong economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region over two decades has helped lift millions of people out of poverty, with middle class jobs now accounting for nearly two-fifths of all employment in the region. However, there's also been an increase in inequality.

According to a recently published ILO working paper, there were more than 670 million middle class workers in the region (those living with their families on more than US$4 per day) in 2012, up from 65 million in 1991. Middle class employment growth was particularly strong in East Asia, which rose from less than 5 per cent to more than 60 per cent in twenty years.

Projections for 2012-2017 show that middle class employment in the Asia-Pacific region will continue to grow and could reach half of the total workforce by 2017.

Co-author of the report Phu Huynh says "Asia's development, with the rise in middle class jobs over the past two decades, has been a tremendous success". However, he says "rapid economic progress has also coincided with increasing inequality and persistent vulnerability".

In fact, more than 600 million workers in the region were living under the US$2 poverty line in 2011 and almost 500 million others were living just above it.

The report says working poverty was particularly high in South Asia.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’15″


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