An additional 700,000 college graduates marching for their diplomas by next week will soon be pounding the pavements and scouring cyberspace jobsites to seek gainful employment—many of them will join the ranks of the nation’s unemployed which stands at 2.96 million.
Gerard Seno, executive vice president of the Associated Labor Unions of the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) does not see college graduates “finding jobs right away.”
He points to the ineffective implementation of job-generating industry-led roadmaps—specifically for the manufacturing and agriculture sector– as one of the major causes of joblessness.
“Many (foreign or domestic) investors are reluctant to invest because the concerned government actors failed to act on the high cost of electricity, the lack of basic modern infrastructures, rampant smuggling, changing rules, declining peace and order, graft and corruption and judicial red tape,” he said.
Too, he lamented the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) jobs fair program that are not complimented by other government agencies to make a significant dent in employment.
“The PPP program which was intended to generate millions of jobs, for example, is not factoring in for reasons we do not know,” he said.
Decrease in numbers of jobless
While the numbers of jobless Filipinos still rose in January 2014, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) revealed that the National Capital Region (NCR) decreased by 69,000 the numbers of the jobless in 2014 as compared to the 2013 employment data.
In a statement released, Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, noted that the lowest level of employment was recorded at 88.9 percent or 4.577 million from the 2013 employment level of 4.646 million.
She explained that the decrease of employment level in NCR was because of stiff competition among qualified applicants who aspire to work in the metropolis.
“In the case of the NCR, it being the center of commerce and industry, jobseekers tend to flock and converge to the capital, competing with thousands of others for available employment,” Baldoz said.
The NCR unemployment rate registered a marked increase of 11.2 percent, higher by 1.7 percent or 95, 000 from the January 2013 figure, she added.
However, Baldoz clarified that there was a decline of 71,000 among the underemployed in NCR compared to the 623,000 underemployed in 2013– 552,000 are underemployed in 2014.
Citing results of the labor force survey (LFS), DOLE revealed a decrease of 393,000 in the number of employed laborers and unskilled workers.
Baldoz, who considered laborers and unskilled workers as large segment of the underemployed, said that the report serves as a “bright note” in their efforts to “increase protection and reduce vulnerability” among workers.
“There is also a sustained decline in vulnerable employment, a Millennium Development Goal indicator. While the number of self-employed and unpaid family workers in proportion to the total employed persons slightly increased by 3.3 percentage points from 35.8 to 39.1 percent, it remains well below the 40 percent level, which has been sustained since 2012,” Baldoz said.
However, the DOLE highlighted a slight decrease of underemployment in the country. Baldoz disclosed that the country has registered 7.101 million underemployed Filipinos in January 2014, which is 1.2 percent higher than the 7.464 million in January 2013.
“In this survey, underemployment fell by 1.2 percentage points, from 20.7 percent in January 2013 to 19.5 percent in January 2014, lower than the 2012 baseline figure of 20 percent of the updated Philippine Development Plan. There are 7.101 million underemployed Filipinos in January 2014 compared to 7.464 million in January 2013,” Baldoz said.
DOLE highlighted some results of the 2014 LFS, which revealed an increase of 1.2 percent of employment level in January 2014. This translates to 36.420 million gainfully employed. Or 92.5 percent, of a 39.389 million-strong labor force, have jobs.