When Wage Earners Equal Vendors

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  • The World Bank logo. Image: AP/Bullit Marquez

    The World Bank logo. Image: AP/Bullit Marquez

    TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The March issue of the World Bank’s (WB) Indonesia Economic Quarterly is by no means riveting reading. But sometimes, on closer scrutiny, you might just find nuggets of information that could be food for thought,  like data showing that the number of formal sector wage earners in 2016 reached 58.3 million. According to the WB, this is almost on a par with those working in the informal sector (you know, street food vendors and those guys who feel they should be tipped for getting you out of a parking spot), who numbered 60.1 million.  This is kind of good news because when unemployment is high, the informal sector absorbs the unemployed, and now the new numbers show that more people actually have paying jobs. Okay, but the report also cautions that “this wage growth has not been shared evenly across the Indonesian economy and the bottom 40 percent are still lagging behind,” said the WB report.  Still a ways to go before we’re out of the poverty trap, the cause for so much social discontent.

    YULI ISMARTONO