Joblessness worsened in October–NSO

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01:59 AM December 19th, 2012

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By: Niña P. Calleja, December 19th, 2012 01:59 AM

Despite the surprising economic growth in this year’s third quarter, joblessness in the Philippines slightly worsened in October compared to the same month last year.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) said Tuesday the unemployment rate stood at 6.8 percent, or about 2.8 million unemployed people, which is higher than the 6.4 percent unemployment rate recorded in October 2011.

Metro Manila registered the highest unemployment rate at 11 percent, while Cagayan Valley recorded the lowest at 2.4 percent.

Almost half (48.5 percent) of the unemployed were in the 15 to 24 age bracket, while more men (62.1 percent) had no jobs than females (37.9 percent), the NSO reported.

In a statement, Arsenio Balisacan, director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), said that despite the growth in the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), which reached 7.1 percent in the third quarter, unemployment is still the government’s “greatest challenge.”

“Achieving rapid economic growth is one thing, but inclusive growth is clearly another. Given the latest labor and employment figures, generating employment and ensuring that these are of good quality remain our greatest challenge,” Balisacan said.

Rene E. Ofreneo of the School of Labor and Industrial Relations said the higher unemployment rate is an indication that the positive GDP the country experienced is not “job-creating.”

“Growth in the stock market and a few sectors like BPO (business process outsourcing) doesn’t touch everybody. It’s time for the Aquino administration to seriously address the joblessness,” he said.

According to the NSO, which released the results of the Labor Force Survey quarterly, the employment rate, or the proportion of employed people to the total labor force, was at 93.2 percent.

Out of the estimated 37.7 million employed people in October, workers belonging to the service sector comprised the largest proportion with 52.6 percent of the total employed.

Of the service sector employees, those engaged in wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles accounted for the highest percentage (18.7 percent of the total employed).

On the other hand, the number of underemployed, or employed people who still want additional hours of work, was estimated at 7.2 million—translating to an underemployment rate of 19 percent.

It was just a little lower than the underemployment rate of 19.1 percent recorded last year.

The NSO said less than a half (44.3 percent) of the underemployed were working in the agriculture sector and around two-fifth (40.5 percent) were working in the service sector. The underemployed in the industry sector accounted for 15.2 percent.

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