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Jobs: Primary Jobs

Traditionally primary jobs (manufacturing) were considered the anchors of local economies and essential for reporting economic success. However sustainability promotes a more local emphasis on natural resources and economy to deter exploitation of weak economies by more robust ones. Local economies cannot sustain themselves without external capital since money will always leave the local economy through simple things like external purchases and people travelling to other places. Therefore the dilemma becomes, how can we calculate exactly the sustainable amount of external capital needed to generate the right mix of primary jobs to sustain local economies? This indicator looks at the development of primary jobs as an indicator to monitor the flow of new capital in the local economy (Leigh & Hoelzel, 2012). The city of Houston ranked 23rd among the largest 63 cities in the country, in terms of percentage of manufacturing jobs ( U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). For this indicator primary jobs are defined as manufacturing jobs plus health sector jobs, for reasons as subsequently explained.

The indicator also looks at green jobs because they ensure that both private gains and public stewardship goals are met. Companies with job descriptions that qualify as green jobs, should be more resource efficient and hence more sustainable (McDonough & Braungart, 2002). Green Jobs can either be monitored by identifying products and services that are created or by the operational procedures followed in a company. In either case the products or procedures should improve or reduce impacts on the environment (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010).

Sustainability Benefit: Although traditional primary jobs were considered exclusively manufacturing, globalization has enabled the capture of foreign exchange from other sectors aside. Health care jobs in Houston, which are primarily service jobs, constitute a significant percentage of all jobs because the Texas Medical Center is the largest medical center in the world and attracts patients and researchers from all over the world. This is why primary jobs in Houston are defined as manufacturing jobs plus medical jobs in this study. The fact that Houston is not solely dependent on manufacturing for new capital creates a stronger base for a more sustainable local economy. This is especially important due to the lack of national and international competitiveness in the global manufacturing economy.

Sustainability Issue: Even with gains in medical jobs, these jobs plus manufacturing jobs, constitute less than one quarter of all jobs. High demand for single occupancy vehicles and the dependence, in Houston, on air conditioning contributes negatively to the environment and offsets both public and private gains from green jobs.


Jobs: Primary Jobs in the Sustainable Development Goals

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8. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all
8. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

8. Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

Roughly half the world’s population still lives on the equivalent of about US$2 a day. And in too many places, having a job doesn’t guarantee the ability to escape from poverty. This slow and uneven progress requires us to rethink and retool our economic and social policies aimed at eradicating poverty.

A continued lack of decent work opportunities, insufficient investments and under-consumption lead to an erosion of the basic social contract underlying democratic societies: that all must share in progress. The creation of quality jobs will remain a major challenge for almost all economies well beyond 2015.

Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Job opportunities and decent working conditions are also required for the whole working age population.

Related Jobs: Primary Jobs Targets


Achieve higher levels of economic productivity through diversification, technological upgrading and innovation, including through a focus on high-value added and labour-intensive sectors

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Investments in infrastructure – transport, irrigation, energy and information and communication technology – are crucial to achieving sustainable development and empowering communities in many countries. It has long been recognized that growth in productivity and incomes, and improvements in health and education outcomes require investment in infrastructure.

Inclusive and sustainable industrial development is the primary source of income generation, allows for rapid and sustained increases in living standards for all people, and provides the technological solutions to environmentally sound industrialization.

Technological progress is the foundation of efforts to achieve environmental objectives, such as increased resource and energy-efficiency. Without technology and innovation, industrialization will not happen, and without industrialization, development will not happen.

Related Jobs: Primary Jobs Targets


Promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and, by 2030, significantly raise industry’s share of employment and gross domestic product, in line with national circumstances, and double its share in least developed countries