Unemployment rate eases in July

Published September 5, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Chino S. Leyco

Ernesto M. Pernia
Ernesto M. Pernia


The country’s labor force improved in July this year as unemployment eased, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed yesterday.

Based on the PSA’s latest Labor Force Survey (LFS), employment rate slightly improved to 94.6 percent in July this year from 94.4 percent in the previous year.

In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said the employment figure was the highest among previous July rounds in the last 10 years and similar to July 2016.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) estimated that the net generated jobs during the month reached 488,000, totalling the country’s employment to 40.7 million.

Meanwhile, unemployment rate for July decreased to 5.4 percent from 5.6 percent in the previous year, the lowest recorded for all surveys conducted in the July rounds since 2008.

Pernia said an average of 1.17 million additional employment has been created so far in the first three rounds of the Labor Force Survey.

For this reason, Pernia said the government is on track to meeting its target of 900,000 to 1.1 million employment generation for this year.

“With remarkable improvements, the government should not let up on its efforts to continually improve the employment situation in the country,” Pernia said.

The services sector accounted for more than half of the country’s total employment, contributing additional employment of more than 1.1 million.

The industry sector also recorded positive employment growth of 2.2 percent, or 172,000 additional employment. Among industry sub sectors, the manufacturing sector contributed the largest during the period.

Moreover, the shares of industry and manufacturing to total employment of 19.4 percent and 9.0 percent, respectively, are the highest in a decade. This is consistent with the strong expansion plans of manufacturing firms as a result of a more positive employment outlook for the period.

However, youth unemployment remains relatively high at 14.1 percent.

“The share of inactive youth remains a concern. The government must equip students with industry-relevant competencies as well as increase their opportunities for work experience,” Pernia said.
“A stronger academe-industry linkage should orient students better on career prospects,” the Cabinet official added..

Meanwhile, underemployment—or full-time workers who seek additional hours of work— increased to 17.2 percent or an estimated 7.0 million workers in July 2018. This is higher compared to the 16.3 percent or about 6.5 million underemployed workers in July 2017.

“In order to meet our employment targets, government should provide an environment that is conducive to creating more and better jobs. It should prioritize policies and programs that address the issues of unutilized youth, unemployed youth, underemployment, and vulnerable workers,” Pernia said.

He said that poor low-skilled workers must be provided access to education and skills development programs that will provide lifelong learning opportunities, and that will respond to the changing needs of the labor market, especially in the context of disruptive technologies.

He also pushed for the reform of labor laws to provide better social protection to workers, while also improving labor market flexibility to maintain competitiveness and create more jobs.

“This package of reforms should include unemployment insurance as an additional safety net and important complement to labor market flexibility,” Pernia said.

“In other words, we need to keep the labor market agile such that more workers and employers can take better advantage of growth opportunities, while still looking after our workers’ welfare,” he added.