Report 2020

Poland on the way to SDGs
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Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Economic growth worldwide

Since 2005, the global economy has expanded in real terms by 45%. Year by year, it has been growing at a relatively stable rate, with the exception of 2008-2009, when the economic crisis affected the majority of regions in the world. As a consequence, in 2009 the global GDP declined in annual terms by 1.3%.
Compared to the figures from 2005, the region that has recorded the largest GDP growth – almost two-fold – is Asia. However, the growth rate has been uneven there: significantly weaker GDP growth compared to other parts of the region was reported in Western Asia (67%), which consists of countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel (growth below the average for the region), Syria (deep fall of GDP), but also Qatar, Turkey or Iraq (with high GDP growth). Over the same period, Africa’s GDP has increased by 62% (more in sub-Saharan Africa – by 79%, than in Northern Africa – 36%), and that of Oceania by 42%. The economy of both Americas jointly has grown by 27%, and faster so in Latin America and the Caribbean (34%) than in Northern America (25%). Europe’s GDP has exceeded that of 2005 by 20% in real terms, yet the pace of this growth has greatly varied across the region. For example, the economy of Southern Europe has expanded by 4%, whereas that of Eastern Europe by 40% (Poland’s GDP growth has amounted to about 70%).

GDP real growth (2005=100)

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2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
WORLD 100.0 104.5 109.1 111.3 109.9 114.8 118.6 121.9 125.2 129.0 132.9 136.5 141.0 145.4 .
AFRICA 100.0 105.9 112.4 119.3 123.9 130.8 129.8 139.6 141.1 145.4 149.2 151.9 157.2 162.2 .
AMERICA 100.0 103.4 106.1 106.9 104.2 107.6 110.1 112.7 115.0 117.5 120.0 121.2 123.7 126.6 .
ASIA 100.0 106.9 115.0 120.0 123.2 132.6 140.4 147.4 155.3 162.9 170.7 179.1 188.1 196.6 .
EUROPE 100.0 103.7 107.3 108.3 103.4 105.8 107.9 108.0 108.6 110.4 112.5 114.6 117.4 119.8 .
Poland 100.0 106.2 113.6 118.4 121.7 126.1 132.4 134.5 136.4 140.9 146.3 150.8 158.2 166.6 173.4
OCEANIA 100.0 103.6 107.5 109.1 111.3 114.0 118.2 121.3 124.4 127.7 131.6 134.8 138.7 141.5 .

The uneven economic growth rate, which has generally been faster in developing than in developed countries, caused changes in the structure of the global economy. In 2005, Europe was the main contributor to the global GDP (34%; Western Europe alone was responsible for nearly 15%), followed by Northern America (30%) and Asia (26%). At present, Asian countries’ contribution to the global GDP is the greatest (37%; and 25% is generated by Eastern Asian countries alone), while Northern America and Europe follow behind, contributing 26% each to the global economy.

Percentage share in the world GDP

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2005 2018
ASIA 26.0 37.2
AMERICA 35.9 32.5
EUROPE 33.8 25.6
AFRICA 2.0 2.8
OCEANIA 1.9 2.0

Huge disproportions between regions in terms of GDP per capita have slightly shrunk, and now the average global GDP per capita is USD 11,000. Northern America, where GDP per capita is presently 5.5 times the global average (and it was almost 6 times the global average in 2005), remains the wealthiest region in the world. Next in line is Oceania, where GDP per capita has been for several years over 3.5 times the global average. In Europe, on the other hand, GDP per capita is over 2.5 times the global average (and was 3 times this average in 2005). Northern Europe’s advantage over the global average has decreased in the same period: now, GDP per capita in that region is approximately 4 times the global average, whereas in 2005 it was over 5.5 times. In the remaining regions of the world, GDP per capita is usually below the global average. African countries, where GDP per capita equals 1,800 USD, i.e. less than 17% of the global average (similar to 2005), remains the poorest region in the world. In Asia, however, GDP per capita has grown significantly: from 43% of the global average to over 62% (and most so in Eastern Asia – from 75% to 114%).

Global labour market

Long-term economic growth is dependent to a large extent on labour productivity (measured as GDP value per person employed). Since 2005, it has increased globally by 24% in real terms. The largest growth of this indicator has been observed in Asian countries. More specifically, it grew fastest – by over 80% – both in Southern and in Eastern Asia, whereas in Central and South-Eastern Asia slightly slower, by 60-70%. In African countries labour productivity has increased by over 20% since 2005, and in Oceania by 17%. Northern America and Europe have recorded similar increases in labour productivity, i.e. 14% in both cases, whereas in Latin America and the Caribbean (where this indicator has been gradually falling for the past few years) labour productivity has grown by only 6% over the entire period.

GDP per capita (USD)

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2005 2018
WORLD 7279 11232
AFRICA 1232 1856
Northern Africa 1928 2814
Sub-Saharan Africa 1046 1638
AMERICA 19 326 27 722
Latin America and the Caribbean 5141 8683
Northern America 43438 61221
ASIA 3115 6982
Southern Asia 800 2083
South-Eastern Asia 1709 4539
Central Asia 1594 3972
Eastern Asia 5473 12816
Western Asia 7348 12095
EUROPE 22040 29279
Southern Europe 24102 27585
Northern Europe 41573 47699
Eastern Europe 5473 11106
Western Europe 36654 47885
OCEANIA 26959 41469

Access to work varies across the world. The average global unemployment rate is presently slightly over 5%, so is lower than in 2005, when it reached 6%. The lowest unemployment rates (3-4%) are reported in South and South-eastern Asia and in Northern America. Northern Africa (with the unemployment rate of 12%) and Western Asia (10%), on the contrary, continue to be regions with the highest unemployment rates. The employment statistics have not improved there since 2005; moreover, women twice as often as men are unemployed. In Northern Africa, 22% of women struggle to find jobs, compared to 9% of men, and these figures in Western Asia are over 15% and 8%, respectively.

The extent to which fundamental labour rights are respected also differs among world regions. Countries which ratified Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Orgainise and the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining conventions are monitored in this respect by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). According to the ILO’s scale (which assumes values of 0-10, with 0 reflecting full respect for workers’ rights, and 10 the lowest level of respect), workers’ rights are respected to the greatest extent in Europe and Northern America (1), whereas in Central and Southern Asia (7) and Northern Africa and Western Asia (6), to the least extent. The global average of the ILO indicator is 3. The ILO indicator for Poland demonstrates that labour rights are respected to a high degree in this country. It is 0.3 (so approaching the best possible value) in terms of protecting workers’ rights in practice. Polish labour law has also been rated relatively highly – at 1.2.

Unemployment rate persons aged 15 and over (%)

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2005 2019
WORLD 5.9 5.4
Northern Africa 12.8 12.1
Sub-Saharan Africa 5.9 5.9
Latin America and the Caribbean 7.9 8.1
Northern America 5.3 3.9
Southern Asia 5.3 5.4
South-Eastern Asia 4.4 3.0
Central Asia 7.9 5.8
Eastern Asia 4.5 4.1
Western Asia 9.2 9.7
EUROPE 8.7 6.2
OCEANIA 4.5 4.7

Wealth of Poland’s inhabitants

Poland belongs to the group of countries which are gradually catching up with the wealthiest EU economies. Since 2010, the country’s GDP has grown in real terms by 38%, whereas the GDP of the whole EU increased by nearly 15%. GDP per capita for Poland (as expressed in PPS), however, remains much below the average for the region, equaling 72% of the EU average. Nevertheless, this discrepancy has considerably decreased since 2010, when Poland’s GDP constituted 62% of the EU average. Another positive trend observed in the Polish economy is the rise in labour productivity, which has increased by 29% in real terms since 2010 (compared to 7% in the EU, on average) and in nominal terms is now approaching 80% of the average for the region (compared to 70% at the beginning of the decade).

GDP per capita (PPS)

PPS is an artificial common currency established in the EU which enables to make cross-country comparisons because eliminates the differences in price levels between them.

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2010 2019
PL 15 930 23 300
EU 25 510 32 020

However, the economic growth in Poland is stimulated by investment to a lesser extent than in many other EU countries. Gross fixed capital formation in Poland has recently been fluctuating around 18% of GDP, while in the EU it has been on average slightly over 20%. The business investment rate has also been for years relatively low in Poland (10%), compared to the average 12% in the region. On the other hand, the scale of investment of the governmental sector has been higher in Poland than in many other countries, reaching yearly 4−5% of GDP, compared to the EU average of 3%.

Real labour productivity per person employed (2010=100)

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2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
PL 100.0 104.2 105.4 106.7 108.4 111.3 113.9 117.8 123.5 129.4
EU 100.0 101.7 101.4 102.0 102.6 103.9 104.6 105.7 106.4 106.9

Polish labour market

The steady economic growth has fostered the improvement of the situation on the Polish labour market. The employment rate has grown from 64% in 2010 to 73% at present, and thus is approaching the EU average. The unemployment rate has visibly fallen over the same period (from 10% in 2010 to 3%), and is now among the lowest in the region. What is more, long-term unemployment, i.e. lasting 12 months or more, has been reduced to 22% from 31% in 2010, and is now lower than the EU average (over 40%).
The situation of young people, just entering the labour market and being one of the groups experiencing most difficulty in finding jobs, has considerably improved. Since 2010, the unemployment rate among people aged 15-24 has fallen over two-fold, to 10%. It is much lower now than the EU average (14%), while at the beginning of the decade it slightly exceeded the EU average. The number of young people remaining completely outside the employment and education has also decreased, albeit only slightly. Currently, 12% of persons aged 15-29 is neither in employment nor in education and training (compared to 15% in 2010).

Employment rate persons aged 20-64 (%)

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2010 2019
PL female 57.3 65.3
male 71.3 80.7
female 62.1 68.2
male 75.1 79.6

In Poland, as in the majority of EU countries, the percentage of economically inactive persons has fallen: at present 25% of the population aged 20-64 do not undertake nor seek employment (21% in the EU, on average), while in 2010 it was almost 29%. Reasons for which people remain economically inactive have also slightly changed. Presently, the main causes are family and caring responsibilities (31% in Poland compared to 22% in the EU) and retirement (28% and 18%, respectively), whereas at the beginning of the decade, these reasons were in reverse order. Polish men and women remain economically inactive for different purposes and reasons: women due to family and caring responsibilities (41% of all economically inactive women compared to 12% of men), while men due illness or disability (41% of all professionally inactive men compared to 14% of women).

Unemployment rate (%)

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2010 2019
PL 15-74 years 9.7 3.3
15-24 years 23.7 9.9
15-74 years 9.6 6.3
15-24 years 21.1 14.3

Working conditions in Poland

Safety and working conditions have slightly improved over the last decade. The overall incidence rate has been in decline since 2011, recently falling to 630 cases per 100,000 working persons from 815 cases in 2010. Simultaneously, the number of fatal accidents at work has been steadily falling. It decreased to less than 2 cases per 100,000 employees in 2018 (similar to the EU average), from almost 4 in 2010 (nearly two times more than in the EU).
Nowadays, the fact of being employed guarantees secure functioning to a slightly higher percentage of Poles than at the beginning of the decade. The proportion of working people at risk of poverty has decreased from 12% in 2010 to 10% at present in that country (which is similar to the average noted in the EU, where this indicator has slightly increased in the same period). However, the situation of Polish working persons aged 55-64 has worsened: the percentage of people from this group at risk of poverty has grown from 10% in 2010 to 12%.

Persons injured in accidents at work per 100,000 working persons in Poland

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2010 2018
total 815 630
fatal 3.86 1.59

Raport 2020
Poland on the way to SDGs
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