• High growth did not solve job crisis – Ibon

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    The country may have posted a strong growth in the third quarter but the unemployment rate has not eased a bit, according to research group Ibon Foundation.

    The non-profit institution said over the weekend that despite the six percent growth rate, job creation continued to decline.

    This, Ibon noted, was because the growth was pushed by the service sector.

    The group said the 6.0 percent growth in the GDP “still [did]not creat[e]enough decent work for Filipinos and remains exclusionary.”

    “The services-driven growth is the reason for the prevailing jobs crisis in the country,” the research group said.

    Ibon’s findings revealed that around 12.3 million Filipinos were unemployed and underemployed as of July 2015.

    The Aquino administration has previously projected that the GDP growth will be faster in the last quarter. But the positive projection only “seeks to give a positive spin to how economic growth of 5.6 percent in the first nine months of 2015 is still slower than in the same period last year,” Ibon said.

    “The jobs situation [became]worse with virtually unchanged unemployment amid a drastic increase in underemployment,” the group said.

    It noted that the number of underemployed Filipinos increased by 933,000, which stood at eight million in July 2015 from 7 million in the same period in 2014.

    Ibon stressed that the underemployment rate that is equivalent to 20.3 percent was higher than the 18.8 percent in 2010, the start of the Aquino administration.

    The output is “the highest in a decade,” Ibon further emphasized.

    Ibon said there are at least 4.3 million unemployed based on the real definition of unemployment under which the group continues to include individuals who have stopped looking for jobs.

    “As long as the country’s stubborn crisis of record joblessness remains unresolved, growth will remain exclusionary. [But] this can be resolved by ensuring land and government support for the majority of small farmers, by building genuinely Filipino industries, and by overhauling economic policy that only provides foreign investors with cheap Filipino labor, raw agricultural products, and underpriced mineral resources,” Ibon said.

    Officially, reported unemployment remained statistically unchanged at 2.7 million and with a 6.5 percent unemployment rate. These figures however exclude Leyte province, so the nationwide jobless numbers may be even significantly higher.

    The group said election spending may push GDP growth slightly higher but this kind of growth will remain exclusionary and not broad-based.

    “Election-related growth will be mainly in election-related service sectors –media, transport and communications, hotels and restaurant, and trade. Only marginal sections of the manufacturing sector will benefit from spending on food, sundries and election paraphernalia,” it explained.

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