THE DUTERTE administration wants to cut the underemployment rate to 13 percent by 2022 from 18 percent, eyeing the creation of higher-quality jobs under a six-year socioeconomic plan.
The high rate of underemployment has alarmed economists, as it indicates a significant proportion of poor-quality jobs.
The Philippine Statistics Authority considers as underemployed a person who is employed but who expresses the “desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or an additional job, or have a new job with longer working hours.”
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said addressing underemployment would be one of the priorities under the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 being drafted.
“We will resolve to reduce the unemployment rate, especially the underemployment rate, which is really the bigger problem,” said Pernia, who is also the director general of the National Economic and Development Authority.
The latest Labor Force Survey showed that the number of unemployed Filipinos dropped in April, but underemployment worsened.
The jobless rate dipped in April to 6.1 percent from 6.4 percent in April 2015.
The rate of underemployment went up, on year-on-year basis, to 18.2 percent from 17.8 percent. This translates to 7.3 million underemployed persons, mainly workers in the agriculture and services sector.
Nearly 46 percent of the underemployed worked in the services sector, while 35.5 percent were in agriculture. Those in industry accounted for 18.9 percent.
To address persistent underemployment in the country, Pernia said the government should “create better-quality jobs that are more regular and therefore more full time, that would reduce unemployment by itself.”