RESEARCH AND ANALYSIS

World Trade Report 2017

Trade, technology and jobs

The 2017 World Trade Report examines how technology and trade affect employment and wages. It analyses the challenges for workers and firms in adjusting to changes in labour markets, and how governments can facilitate such adjustment to ensure that trade and technology are inclusive.

The Report looks, in particular, at the part played by technology and trade in the shift of employment from manufacturing to services, in the decreasing proportion of middle-skilled jobs, in the growing value placed on skills within the jobs market and in the increasing participation of women in the workforce.

The Report finds that labour markets have evolved in many different ways across countries, suggesting that country-specific factors play a pivotal role. It also finds that although technological advances and trade have yielded important benefits for economies overall, certain types of workers and/or regions may sometimes be adversely affected. Although interrelated, technology more than trade appears to be responsible for the decreasing share of manufacturing jobs and for the declining number of middle-skill jobs relative to low- and high-skill jobs.

The publication concludes that helping workers adjust to changes in the labour market and ensuring that benefits are spread more widely can increase the positive impact of open trade and technological progress.

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