10-year high: Employment rate inches up to 94.6% in July
More Filipinos gained jobs in July as the employment rate inched up to a 10-year high of 94.6 percent, the government reported on Wednesday.
The Philippine Statistics Authority’s July 2018 Labor Force Survey showed that the rate of employed among those in the labor force, composed of those 15 years old and above, increased from 94.4 percent a year ago.
In a statement, the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority said the higher jobs rate last July translated into net generated employment of about 488,000, bringing the total employment to 40.7 million to date.
“An average of 1.17 million additional employment has been created so far in the first three rounds of the Labor Force Survey [this year]. And this puts the government on track in meeting its target of 900,000 to 1.1 million employment generation for 2018,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and Neda chief Ernesto M. Pernia said in a statement.
“With remarkable improvements, the government should not let up on its efforts to continually improve the employment situation in the country,” Pernia added.
Separately, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno told reporters that the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program is expected to create more employment opportunities moving forward.
“In the employment figure last April, we created something like 600,000 plus jobs and a big chunk of that is construction workers. With our ‘Build, Build, Build’ going full blast, we’re going to create a lot of jobs,” Diokno noted.
“So that’s good—people will be more tolerant of rising prices if they have jobs rather than being jobless,” Diokno added.
Also on Wednesday, the government reported that inflation or the rate of increase in prices of basic good reached an over nine-year high of 6.4 percent.
“So everything’s fine; we’re in a better place than before. So let’s not rock the boat,” Diokno said.
Neda said the services sector added over 1.1 million jobs. Industry, including manufacturing, created 172,000 new employment.
“The shares of industry and manufacturing to total employment of 19.4 percent and 9 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,” Neda said.
However, underemployment increased to 17.2 percent in July from 16.3 percent a year ago, equivalent to about seven million workers.
In July last year, the number of underemployed Filipinos was a lower 6.5 million.
The PSA defines the underemployed as “employed persons who express the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, or to have an additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.”
“In order to meet our employment targets, the 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.
“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,” Pernia added.
As such, the Neda chief pushed for reforms in labor laws, including “unemployment insurance as an additional safety net and an important complement to labor market flexibility.”
“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,” according to Pernia. /vvp
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