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Job Creation and Local Economic Development 2020

Rebuilding Better

image of Job Creation and Local Economic Development 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on local jobs and workers dwarfs those of the 2008 global financial crisis. The 2020 edition of Job Creation and Local Economic Development considers the short-term impacts on local labour markets as well as the longer-term implications for local development. Chapter 1 explores the immediate local employment impacts of the crisis, the divides within and across local labour markets even prior to the pandemic, and the likely diverging recovery patterns. Chapter 2 considers the underlying trends that COVID-19 will accelerate (digitalisation, the automation of jobs and polarisation of skill profiles; a transition to greener jobs) or slow down (reconfigured global supply chains, concentration of the high skilled in largest cities). Chapter 3 explores local action in the recovery. It highlights the strategies to strengthen local employment services and training providers to meet the increased demand for job placement and skills upgrading, particularly for the most disadvantaged workers (youth, low-skilled, women) or business development to serve the hardest hit firms and sectors (tourism, culture, hospitality). It also considers strategies and tools to “rebuild better” by rethinking local development futures, taking advantage of the changing geography of jobs due to remote working or other opportunities such as the social economy. Individual country profiles are available online.

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How COVID-19 could accelerate local labour market transitions

Even prior to COVID-19, local labour markets were undergoing major transitions – automation and technological change, globalisation, the green transition, and demographic change – that were reshaping the geography of jobs, local skills in demand, and the size and composition of local labour forces. Pre-COVID, cities were typically well positioned to benefit from many of these changes, while the risk of other places getting left behind was deepening. While COVID-19 is accelerating the transition to the future of work, it could also re-orient other trends, such as urbanisation, potentially shifting some of these patterns. Governments at all levels will need to accelerate and adapt their responses accordingly.

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