Employed Filipinos rises 1.7% in July, NEDA hopes to reduce unemployment from 7.3% to 6.5% annually



The Filipinos employed as of July this year increased by 1.7 percent as more Filipinos enter the labor market, thinking that the country is developing and that more opportunities are available because of the inclusive growth campaign of the government.

As of July 2013, the total labor force of the country increased by 1.2 percent, accounting to 41.2 million from the 40.4 million last year—adding and increasing both employed (including underemployment) and underemployed.

Arsenio Balisacan, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) director general, told reporters at the release of July 2013 Labor Force Survey on Tuesday that the increase in the volume of the labor force in the country triggered high unemployment rates and employment rates drop.

This is in reference to the slight decrease of employment rate from 93 percent in July last year to 92.7 percent this year, as well as the rise in unemployment rates from 2012’s 7 percent to 2013’s 7.3 percent—from 2.8 million last year to 3 million this year—all of which are caused by the surge of Filipinos entering the labor market.

“One of the triggers why the unemployment rate is high is becuase increase in labor force is high, from 1.7 naging 1.9. It means that if labor force growth was the same as previous year, our unemployment rate would be 6.6 percent, not 7.3 percent,” Balisacan said.

“But a lot of people entered the labor market because they thought that with the strong economy, there’s just too many jobs there. Obviously, it will take more time to get those jobs because we really need to have investment growing continuously over a period of time,” he explained.

“The labor market is very volatile because we are experiencing this rapid growth which is over a couple of quarters, and we expect that to stabilize down the road when we have grown sufficiently over a long period of time,” he added.

Meanwhile, underemployment rates improved, from over 20 percent of the employed persons for the past years to 19.2 percent this year across all major industry groups—from 8.6 million last year to 7.3 underemployed Filipinos as of July.

Balisacan also said that the administration remains positive in employment, projecting annual 6.5 percent unemployment rate and 15 percent underemployment rate in the revision of the Philippine Development Plan up to 2016.

For the yearly targets until 2016, Balisacan said that the government is “looking at growth drivers” such as the manufacturing, tourism, infrastructure, construction and logistics, agribusiness, as well as the business processing management sector, which is still the fastest growing sector in the economy.

The increase in labor force on the other hand was driven by the good season for the agricultural sector, bringing in additional 116,000 jobs, as well as services and construction generating additional 383,000 and 101,000 jobs, respectively. Largest number of unemployment on the other hand came from wholesale and retail trade generating 506,000 jobs. KRISTYN NIKA M. LAZO


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