Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said that a majority of the unemployed under the labor force were “young people who lack competency and experience.”
In the July 2013 Labor Force Survey released by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) on Tuesday, most unemployed persons were under ages 15 to 24, or 49 percent of the total 3 million unemployed Filipinos, followed by ages 25 to 54 having 47-percent share of the unemployed.
In terms of educational attainment received, job seekers who are high school graduates also account for the highest in the unemployed rate, taking 44-percent share of the unemployed. This was followed by college graduates equating to 35 percent of the total.
Balisacan, who is also the NEDA chief, noted that because of the volatile labor market and the perception of the people that the country’s growth translates to employment, instances such as workers being laid off in place by the new ones, new entrants to the labor force surging, and people shifting jobs do happen and is, in fact, “natural.”
“There’s such thing as ‘natural unemployment rate.’ At any given point in time, even if the economy is in full capacity, these are people shifting jobs or just waiting and see until they get a better offer,” Balisacan said.
As of July this year, unemployment rose to 7.3 percent, compared to the 7 percent the same time last year. Employment rates also went down to 92.7 percent from the 93 percent last year. But Balisacan said this only because of the sudden surge of Filipinos entering the labor market.
“The confidence that we create in economy also expands the participation of people to get into the market. Once you don’t create enough jobs, more than these people coming in, then unemployment and underemployment can actually increase even though the economy is doing good in generating and raising income of people,” the NEDA chief said.
“According to the experiences of emerging economies, that is observed. The implication to us is that we don’t expect initial unemployment and under to drop sharply with economic growth because that’s not the case,” he added.
He also said that in the current revision of the Philippine Development Plan toward 2016, the target for unemployment would be at 6.5 percent, while underemployment is forecasted at 15 percent from the 19.2 percent in July 2013—which is an “ambition” as underemployment improved to 19 percent recently from the over 20-percent rates the past few months.
The number of total employed Filipinos increased to 41.2 million July this year, compared to the 40.4 million in 2012.