The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released its Labor Force Survey (LFS) on Tuesday, which revealed that the Philippines’ unemployment rate was at 4.7 percent as of October. The rate was the lowest in 11 years since the government adopted the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) definitions on employment and unemployment.
Here are three fast facts about the country’s unemployment rate in October.
1. The recent unemployment rate meant that the country’s growth is inclusive.
“This means that the growth of our economy is becoming more inclusive as it engages more and more Filipinos to participate in the labor market,” Business World reported National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general, Ernesto M. Pernia, as saying.
Bank of the Philippine Islands lead economist Emilio S. Neri also said that the uptick in the employment rate was driven by the construction sector and the surprise expansion of the agriculture sector.
“The P3-trillion budget approved by the previous administration gave the new administration enough space to follow through with big-ticket projects already in the pipeline,” The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported Neri, as saying.
2. PSA also reported that employment rate was at 95.3 percent, while labor participation was at 63.6 percent.
NEDA said that this translated to 41.7 million Filipinos have jobs as of October. It added that the government has exceeded its unemployment rate for the whole year to 5.5 percent. It has projected a 6.5-6.7 percent unemployment rate for 2016.
3. Despite the good news, however, underemployment remains a problem. The PSA recorded 18 percent underemployment rate in October, which is even higher than the 17.6 percent recorded in the same period of last year.
Underemployment rate translated to 7.5 million workers who were already working but still looking for additional income. NEDA noted that underemployment was more prevalent among those working in private households and those employed in a family business.
“While we are able to cut unemployment, many of our workers are forced to either work part- time or end up in jobs that put a cap on their earning capacity,” Neri said.
The Associated Labor Unions Advocacy officer and spokesman of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP), Alan A. Tanjusay, said that the government and the private sector must work together to address underemployment.
“But if employers and government ignore underemployment solutions, economic growth will continue to be non-inclusive and inequitable with the very few upper-class people racing to the top while the working people are racing to the bottom,” Tanjusay said.
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