NEDA confident average will remain in the 6.6%-6.8% range
The Philippine economic planning body is confident unemployment in the country will average within its target range of 6.6 percent to 6.8 percent this year, banking on the strength of the jobs-generating manufacturing and tourism sectors.
The last available data shows that in January 2015, the unemployment rate eased to 6.6 percent from 7.5 percent a year earlier, with the number of jobless Filipinos down by 334,000 to 2.6 million.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters on the eve of the release of the Labor Force Survey results for April, set for Tuesday, June 9: “I am confident that it [unemployment rate]will decrease because that’s what was indicated in our PDP [Philippine Development Plan]… it has come down since 2010.”
Balisacan, who is also the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director-General, expects the jobless rate to decline further during the rest of 2015 as the government “drums up job opportunities.”
The government’s assumption under PDP 2011-2016 is that unemployment will average between 6.6 percent and 6.8 percent in 2015, before dropping further to 6.7 percent to 6.5 percent by 2016.
“The economy is growing . . . with this kind of growth we should be seeing improvement in the employment situation,” Balisacan said on the sidelines of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on Public Expenditures hearing at the House of Representatives on Monday.
To achieve the 2015 goal, investment in industry and services sectors need to increase to create bigger demand for labor, according to the development plan.
The government said under the PDP, specific interventions are prescribed to improve the business climate, increase productivity and improve innovative capacity.
In 2014, the average unemployment rate remained well within the 6.7 percent to 6.9 percent target range of the government, at 6.8 percent.