Employment rate up 5.7% in July
An increase in hiring of workers in the services and agriculture sectors resulted in better employment levels for the Philippines in July 2019 as well as lower underemployment, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said on Tuesday.
In a statement, the Neda said that the Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that employment rate increased by 5.7 percent in July 2019, from 1.2 percent in July 2018.
This translates to 2.3 million additional employment, almost five times the 479,000 employment generated in the same period last year.
At the same time, the unemployment rate was steady at 5.4 percent, which remained to be the lowest unemployment rate recorded for all July rounds of the survey since 2009.
The year-to-date unemployment rate is estimated at 5.2 percent, near the upper end of the 4.3 to 5.3 percent target in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.
The total number of employed Filipinos reached nearly 43 million in July 2019 on account of stronger employment in the services (6.1 percent from 4.7 percent in 2018) and agriculture sectors (7.6 percent from -7.4 percent in 2018).
“While the Philippine economy has shown remarkable improvements in the labor market, the government should continually improve its efforts toward generating more productive and higher quality employment that provides adequate income for Filipino workers and their families,” Neda Undersecretary for Policy and Planning Rosemarie Edillon said.
She added that the full implementation of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, and reduction of foreign investment restrictions in public utilities, retail trade and domestic-market oriented firms, were seen to create more employment opportunities for Filipinos.
Meanwhile, the underemployment rate—the proportion of those already employed but still wanting more work—fell to its lowest rate in all July rounds of the survey at 13.9 percent, from 17.2 percent a year ago. This translates to a reduction of over a million underemployed workers in July 2019.
The labor force participation rate expanded further to 62.1 percent as more Filipinos were encouraged to join the labor force. In particular, youth participation rate went up to 38.3 percent, or 1.5 percentage points higher than the level in the previous survey period.
“The government must continue encouraging the private sector to increase employment opportunities for young people, supporting technical vocational training, promoting apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs among the youth,” said Edillon.
Moreover, an improvement in the female participation rate was noted, given the decline in the number of females who were economically inactive or not in the labor force. A sharp decline of 3.4 percent, or 361,000 individuals, was observed in the number of women who cited assumption of household and family duties as reason for not being in the labor force.
The government needs to speed up on its programs and policies in order to meet the government’s annual target of increasing female LFPR to 50.1 percent.
“To achieve the target of increasing the female labor participation rate, monitoring and strict implementation of programs and policies geared towards fostering women’s economic participation need to be intensified such as the Expanded Maternity Leave Act and Telecommuting Act, which recognizes alternative work-from-home arrangements in the private sector,” Edillon said.—DAXIM L. LUCAS
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