Full employment and decent work for all

Growth does not create enough jobs. Conventional economic policies haven’t either. While the private sector creates the majority of employment opportunities, it is neither its mission nor its responsibility to provide jobs for all. Worse, in the current policy framework, unemployment is used for price stabilization, which in turn creates structural precarity, economic insecurity, and social instability. Full employment has lost its meaning.

The job guarantee is an open-ended direct approach to employment creation for those who are left behind, thus securing true full employment over the long-run.


Social and environmental assets

Public service employment targets social and environmental needs, the areas that are often under-provisioned. The job guarantee fosters broad-based civic engagement, allowing participants and community members to identify needs, propose projects, and actively engage in their execution. The job guarantee’s projects will address pressing social needs, from care work to food security, with guidance from community members. Guaranteed dignified living wage employment is an inoculation for the large but unaccounted for public health costs of unemployment, poverty, and the resulting deaths of despair.

Poor and disenfranchised communities all too often suffer the greatest impact of pollution, environmental degradation, and climate change. As a public services program, the job guarantee also focuses on environmental rehabilitation to create safer, healthier, more ecologically sustainable communities. The job guarantee is a crucial tool in building the environmental and social assets to make towns and cities around the world resilient to climatic and economic change.


Human rights

The right to full, productive employment is listed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights; the International Labor Organization’s Employment Policy Convention; and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. If private markets cannot provide true full employment for all workers who desire dignified living wage work, then the state becomes the employer of last resort. Guaranteed employment would be made a legally enforceable right, imposing on Governments an obligation of result – to provide decent work to all individuals able and willing to work. This is the idea of a job guarantee.

Photograph of Franklin D. Roosevelt at the White House in Washington, D.C., delivering a national radio address
Demonstrators holding signs during the March on Washington, 1963
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mathew Ahmann in a crowd of demonstrators at the March on Washington
MLK in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, in Washington, D.C
Eleanor Roosevelt and United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Lake Success, New York