THE official economic planning body said creating jobs remains a big challenge in the country as the labor force continues to grow faster than the number of jobs created, making it imperative for government and employers to collaborate in tackling the unemployment problem.
On Friday, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) appealed to employers across various businesses to take a more active role in efforts to generate high-quality jobs that will provide adequate incomes for Filipinos.
By increasing their investments, employers can generate quality and better-paying jobs crucial to poverty reduction and inclusive growth, it said.
“The generation of remunerative employment remains a big challenge in the country.
Data show that the rate of employment generation has not kept pace with the labor force growth such that there is still a large stock of the unemployed,” Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a speech delivered by NEDA Deputy Director General Rolando Tungpalan during the 35th National Conference of Employers on Friday.
Balisacan told the participants that while poverty incidence in the first half of 2013 has remarkably improved, more needs to be done to substantially reduce poverty and ensure inclusivity.
Poverty incidence in the country—or the percentage of Filipinos considered poor based on their average income—dropped to 24.9 percent in the first half of 2013 from 27.9 percent in the same period in 2012.
However, the NEDA chief noted that more concern must be directed toward the creation of high-quality jobs that provide adequate income for the Filipino workforce, rather than the quantity.
He also outlined the strategies being done to accelerate job creation and to improve the labor and employment situation in the country.
“These strategies include continuous build-up of capital, promotion of priority sectors, stable macroeconomic fundamentals, investment in research and development in the agriculture, industry and services sectors, and reducing the cost of doing business,” he said.
Balisacan also highlighted the need for greater support for economic sectors with high growth potentials.
“Investing in manufacturing, tourism, information technology-business process management, construction, logistics, and agribusiness can provide remunerative jobs for a great number of the poor,” he said.
Under the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 Midterm Update, the government aims to reduce the unemployment rate from 7.0 percent in 2012 to between 6.5 percent and 6.7 percent in 2016.
The plan also envisions a reduction in the underemployment rate from the current 20 percent to about 17 percent in 2016.
“We hope that the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines would continue supporting us in our efforts to generate high-quality and remunerative employment that is key to rapid poverty reduction,” Balisacan said.