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Visitors here can find an array of publications related to productivity, competitiveness, quality and economy released by different stakeholders. You may also visit the Archives section for past publications.

Inclusive Productivity: Engaging the Youth
With the increasing vulnerability of global youth employment, it is urgent to reengage young people in the labor force. APO member economies with a youth bulge or an aged society must aim to engage the youth to increase available labor and improve labor productivity for sustainable development. In this report, Dr. Akira Murata highlights two determinants of inclusive productivity and introduces effective policy initiatives to enhance youth participation in productive economic activities.

Based on the latest good practices of some projects for improving the volume of youth employment in Japan, the following three types of policy initiative are important: 1) (re)skilling; 2) developing AI literacy; and 3) sharing knowledge. Policy Initiative

1: (Re)skilling Some young people can acquire high levels of digital technology skills (e.g., programming and data analysis) on their own, but others cannot. Thus, it is important to equip those young people with basic knowledge of AI and the IoT, particularly DX and AI planning. AI planning helps specify and understand project aims and purposes. Policy Initiative

2: Developing AI Literacy At the university level, a curriculum for AI and data science classes was newly established. However, in Japan today, the quality of education may not sufficiently meet the needs of industry. Teacher training to improve AI literacy is a priority at the primary and secondary education levels. Policy Initiative

3: Sharing Knowledge The speed of the industrial transformation, including DX, is rapid and requires spaces to share good practices, like online knowledge hubs or libraries. It is essential to continuously share knowledge through platforms like the Productivity Talks organized by the APO.
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World Economic Outlook Update January 2024
Global growth is projected at 3.1 percent in 2024 and 3.2 percent in 2025, with the 2024 forecast 0.2 percentage point higher than that in the October 2023 World Economic Outlook (WEO) on account of greater-than-expected resilience in the United States and several large emerging market and developing economies, as well as fiscal support in China. The forecast for 2024–25 is, however, below the historical (2000–19) average of 3.8 percent, with elevated central bank policy rates to fight inflation, a withdrawal of fiscal support amid high debt weighing on economic activity, and low underlying productivity growth. Inflation is falling faster than expected in most regions, in the midst of unwinding supply-side issues and restrictive monetary policy. Global headline inflation is expected to fall to 5.8 percent in 2024 and to 4.4 percent in 2025, with the 2025 forecast revised down.
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The Future of Growth Report 2024
Global growth has been slower in the past decade compared to previous ones, and the post-pandemic recovery is losing momentum. Between 2018 and 2023 – on average – high-income economies’ GDP (in purchasing-power-parity terms) grew by 1.4% annually across economies featured in the report, by 2.2% across upper-middle income economies, by 3.1% across lower-middle income economies, and by 3.1% across low-income economies. Total global GDP today is higher than its pre-pandemic level, but growth rates in 2023 remain below 4% across all income groups.

This conventional GDP growth picture is incomplete without a deeper understanding of the underlying nature and quality of growth, and whether it is in synergy with global and national priorities. The question is not whether the world still needs economic growth, but how the growth can be better aligned with other important priorities. This report provides a framework for looking at growth in the context of its quality and serves as a starting point for the Forum’s Future of Growth Initiative.

Framework overview– The Future of Growth Framework introduces a multidimensional approach that focuses on evaluating the quality of growth and the balance between various priorities rather than aggregating them into a single index. It is grounded in four pillars that assess the quality of growth: Innovativeness, Inclusiveness, Sustainability and Resilience.

Global analysis
The report reveals that most countries continue to grow in ways that are neither sustainable nor inclusive and are limited in their ability to absorb or generate innovation and minimize their contribution and susceptibility to global shocks.

The inclusiveness pillar, which measures the extent to which an economy’s trajectory includes all stakeholders in the benefits and opportunities it creates, and the resilience dimension, which captures the extent to which an economy’s trajectory can withstand and bounce back from shocks, have the highest global average scores, 55.9 out of 100 and 52.8 out of 100, respectively.

Meanwhile, the global average of the sustainability dimension, which measures the extent to which an economy’s trajectory can keep its ecological footprint within finite environmental boundaries, is 46.8 out of 100. The innovativeness dimension – which captures the extent to which an economy’s trajectory can absorb and evolve in response to new technological, social, institutional and organizational developments to improve the longer-term quality of growth – attains the lowest global score, with a global average of 45.2 out of 100.

Country-level analysis
At an individual level, none of the 107 economies covered by the report have attained a score higher than 80 on any of the framework’s four dimensions. The report provides country-level data that allows policy-makers to assess the character and nature of a country’s economic growth and identify potential areas for improvement and synergies.

High income economies, with an average GDP of $52,475 per capita (at purchasing power parity) in 2023, saw average annual GDP per capita growth of 1.01% over the past five years, 2018-2023. Their growth pathway is generally characterized by high scores on inclusiveness (68.9), innovativeness (59.4) and resilience (61.9), but room to improve on sustainability (45.8).

Countries in this group include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. Notable high scores include Switzerland (80.4), Singapore (76.4) and the United States (74.1) on innovativeness; Finland (77.7) and Canada (75.8) on inclusiveness; Sweden (60.9), Germany (56.3) and the United Kingdom (54.0) on sustainability; and Australia (69.5) and Japan (66.3) on resilience.

Common challenges preventing a stronger balanced growth performance of this group include talent availability, access to equal workplace opportunities, slow development and adoption of green technologies, and insufficient reskilling and lifelong learning.

Upper middle-income economies, with an average GDP of $17,900 per capita in 2023, saw average annual GDP per capita growth of 1.32% over the past five years. Their growth pathway generally features a relatively high emphasis on inclusiveness (54.8) and resilience (50.0), with room to improve on sustainability (44.0) and innovativeness (39.3).

Countries in this group include Argentina, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and Türkiye. Notable high scores include Malaysia (52.3) and South Africa (44.1) on innovativeness; Brazil (56.0) and Costa Rica (48.8) on sustainability; and Indonesia (57.9) on resilience.

Common challenges preventing a stronger balanced growth performance of this group include research capacity, wealth and income inequality, high non-renewable energy intensity and waste production, and financial stability.

Lower middle-income economies, with an average GDP of $7,633 per capita in 2023, saw average annual GDP per capita growth of 1.95% over the past five years. Their growth pathway has generally been focused on resilience (45.8), with higher scores on sustainability (50.0) than richer economies but room to improve on inclusiveness (44.8) and innovativeness (34.9).

Countries in this group include Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and Viet Nam. Notable high scores include Jordan (45.1) on innovativeness; Viet Nam (56.2) on inclusiveness; Kenya (57.2) and India (56.0) on sustainability; and the Philippines (54.1) on resilience.

Common challenges preventing a stronger balanced growth performance of this group include technology absorption, lack of social safety nets, insufficient investment in renewable energy and insufficient healthcare system capacity.

Low-income economies, with an average GDP of $1,533 per capita in 2023, saw average annual GDP per capita growth of just 0.22% over the past five years. Their growth pathway is generally characterized by a much lighter environmental footprint per capita – resulting in a high sustainability performance (52.7) – but with room to improve on resilience (39.0), inclusiveness (29.9) and innovativeness (26.8).

Notably high scores are achieved by Rwanda, with a particularly strong emphasis on resilience (52.8). Common challenges preventing a stronger balanced growth performance of this group include ICT capital and connectivity, access to connectivity and healthy nutrition, insufficient environmental regulation and insufficient energy source diversification.

Archetype D is comprised of two sub-types, characterized by above-average performance on the Innovativeness, Inclusiveness and Resilience pillars, and notably lower scores on the Sustainability pillar. In general, the archetype features countries with strong economic fundamentals at different stages of transition towards more innovative, inclusive, and resilient growth models. Countries in the second sub-type – Armenia, Bulgaria, Georgia, Ireland and Serbia – are characterized by particularly strong GDP per-capita growth rates, averaging 4.8% over the past five years. Growth rates are more modest for the archetype’s first sub-type (0.9%), characteristic of countries including Cyprus, Malta, Mauritius, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Slovenia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

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The Global Cooperation Barometer 2024
This World Economic Forum report, written in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, measures the current state of global cooperation. It is meant to serve as a tool for leaders to better understand the contours of cooperation broadly and along five pillars – trade and capital flows, innovation and technology, climate and natural capital, health and wellness, and peace and security.
It is no secret that the current global context is concerning, as heightened competition and conflict appear to be replacing cooperation. The result is that new power dynamics, changing demographic realities and breakthrough frontier technologies are raising the temperature on long-simmering distrust rather than fueling opportunities for benefit. Businesses are responding to these complicated – and often fraught – geopolitical developments by shifting operations and facilities closer to home.
This report, therefore, aims to help business and government stakeholders gain a better understanding of the nature of cooperation to shape a healthier and more prosperous and sustainable world in the year ahead and beyond.
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World Economic Forum Chief Economists Outlook January 2024
This latest edition of the Chief Economists Outlook launches amid protracted weakness in global economic conditions and widening regional divergences. Uncertainty that dominated the outlook over the last year continues to cloud the near-term economic outlook as the global economy grapples with headwinds from tight financial conditions and geopolitical rifts while adapting to rapid advancements in generative AI. Although the results reveal signs of cautious optimism, including easing of inflationary pressures and AI-enabled productivity benefits, growth momentum remains tepid, and majority expects the pace of geoeconomic fragmentation to accelerate this year.

Regional variations
The outlook for South Asia and East Asia and Pacific remains positive and broadly unchanged compared to the last survey, with a strong majority (93% and 86% respectively) expecting at least moderate growth in 2024. China is an exception, with a smaller majority (69%) expecting moderate growth as weak consumption, lower industrial production and property market concerns weigh on the prospects of a stronger rebound.
In Europe, the outlook has weakened significantly since the September 2023 survey, with the share of respondents expecting weak or very weak growth almost doubling to 77%. In the United States and the Middle East and North Africa, the outlook is weaker too, with about six in 10 respondents foreseeing moderate or stronger growth this year (down from 78% and 79% respectively). There is a notable uptick in growth expectations for Latin America and the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia, although the views remain for broadly moderate growth.

Geopolitical rifts compound uncertainty
About seven in 10 chief economists expect the pace of geoeconomic fragmentation to accelerate this year, with a majority saying geopolitics will stoke volatility in the global economy (87%) and stock markets (80%), increase localization (86%), strengthen geoeconomic blocs (80%) and widen the North-South divide (57%) in the next three years.
As governments increasingly experiment with industrial policy tools, experts are nearly unanimous in expecting these policies to remain largely uncoordinated between countries. While two-thirds of chief economists expect industrial policies to enable the emergence of new economic growth hotspots and vital new industries, a majority also warn of rising fiscal strains (79%) and divergence between higher- and lower-income economies (66%).
AI takes the spotlight

Chief economists expect AI-enabled benefits to vary widely across income groups, with notably more optimistic views about the effects in high-income economies. A strong majority said generative AI will increase efficiency of output production (79%) and innovation (74%) in high-income economies this year. Looking at the next five years, 94% expect these productivity benefits to become economically significant in high-income economies, compared to only 53% for low-income economies.
Almost three-quarters (73%) do not foresee net-positive impact on employment in low-income economies and 47% said the same for high-income economies. The views are somewhat more divided on the likelihood of generative AI to increase standards of living and to lead to a decline in trust, with both being slightly more likely in high-income markets.
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Consumer Price Index December 2023
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 0.1 point or 0.1% from 131.9 in November 2023 to 132.0 in December 2023. The main contributors to the change in the index between November 2023 and December 2023.
Year-on-year (Y-o-y) inflation worked out to 3.9% in December 2023, compared to 12.2% in December 2022. Headline inflation for the 12-months ending December 2023 worked out to 7.0%, compared to 10.8% for the 12-months ending December 2022.
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ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook Trends: 2024 (WESO Trends)
Joblessness and the jobs gap have both fallen below pre-pandemic levels but global unemployment will rise in 2024, and growing inequalities and stagnant productivity are causes for concern, according to the ILO’s World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2024 report.

The 2023 global unemployment rate stood at 5.1 per cent, a modest improvement from 2022 when it stood at 5.3 per cent. The global jobs gap and labour market participation rates also improved in 2023.However, beneath these numbers fragility is starting to emerge, the report finds. It projects that the labour market outlook and global unemployment will both worsen. In 2024 an extra two million workers are expected to be looking for jobs, raising the global unemployment rate from 5.1 per cent in 2023 to 5.2 per cent. Disposable incomes have declined in the majority of G20 countries and, generally, the erosion of living standards resulting from inflation is, “unlikely to be compensated quickly”.

Furthermore, important differences persist between higher and lower income countries. While the jobs gap rate in 2023 was 8.2 per cent in high-income countries, it stood at 20.5 per cent in the low-income group. Similarly, while the 2023 unemployment rate persisted at 4.5 per cent in high-income countries, it was 5.7 per cent in low-income countries.

Moreover, working poverty is likely to persist. Despite quickly declining after 2020, the number of workers living in extreme poverty (earning less than US$2.15 per person per day in purchasing power parity terms) grew by about 1 million in 2023. the number of workers living in moderate poverty (earning less than US$3.65 per day per person in PPP terms) increased by 8.4 million in 2023.

Income inequality has also widened, the WESO Trends warns, adding that the erosion of real disposable income, “bodes ill for aggregate demand and a more sustained economic recovery.”
Rates of informal work are expected to remain static, accounting for around 58 per cent of the global workforce in 2024.

Labour market imbalances
The return to pre-pandemic labour market participation rates has varied between different groups. Women's participation has bounced back quickly, but a notable gender gap still persists, especially in emerging and developing nations. Youth unemployment rates continue to present a challenge. The rate of people defined as NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) remains high, especially among young women, posing challenges for long-term employment prospects.
The report also found that those people who have re-entered the labour market post-pandemic tend not to be working the same number of hours as before while the number of sick days taken has increased significantly.

Productivity growth slowed
After a brief post-pandemic boost labour productivity has returned to the low level seen in the previous decade. Importantly, the report also finds that despite technological advances and increased investment, productivity growth has continued to slow. One reason for this is that significant amounts of investment were directed towards less productive sectors such as services and construction. Other barriers include skills shortages and the dominance of large digital monopolies, which hinders faster technological adoption, especially in developing countries and sectors with a predominance of low productivity firms.

Outlook uncertain
"This report looks behind the headline labour market figures and what it reveals must give great cause for concern. It is starting to look as if these imbalances are not simply part of pandemic recovery but structural,” said ILO Director-General, Gilbert F. Houngbo. “The workforce challenges it detects pose a threat to both individual livelihoods and businesses and it is essential that we tackle them effectively and fast. Falling living standards and weak productivity combined with persistent inflation create the conditions for greater inequality and undermine efforts to achieve social justice. And without greater social justice we will never have a sustainable recovery”.
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World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2024
The Global Risks Report explores some of the most severe risks we may face over the next decade, against a backdrop of rapid technological change, economic uncertainty, a warming planet and conflict. As cooperation comes under pressure, weakened economies and societies may only require the smallest shock to edge past the tipping point of resilience.

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