Asian Development Outlook 2018: How Technology Affects Jobs

Developing Asia is forecast to expand by 6.0% in 2018, and by 5.9% in 2019. Excluding Asia’s high-income newly industrialized economies, growth should reach 6.5% in 2018 and 6.4% in 2019. With oil prices edging up and robust consumer demand continuing, inflation is poised to pick up after dipping slightly last year. Consumer prices are projected to rise by 2.9% in both 2018 and 2019, or 0.6 percentage points more than in 2017.

This year’s publication draws attention to opportunities and concerns presented by new technologies in the workplace. The application of new technologies will boost productivity, but at the same time it will displace certain types of jobs. Evidence shows, however, that rising demand and higher output will create jobs, outweighing job displacement, especially with the addition of new occupations and industries that will arise to meet the new needs of producers and consumers. This transition will require a skilled workforce and could put the less-skilled at a disadvantage. The challenge for governments is to ensure that workers are equipped with foundational skills to enable lifelong learning and have the specialized skills required for working with new technologies. Governments must act to enhance and adapt skills development, labor regulation, social protection, and income redistribution. Finally, they must ensure that new technologies develop in ways that benefit people and protect their rights.