GDP growth creates more jobs
The employment rate rose to 94.6 percent, which translates to nearly 41 million employed individuals in July, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Labor Force Survey releasedon Friday.
The economic growth in the first six months of the year was reflected in the labor market last July, particularly by the declines in the unemployment and underemployment rates, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said in a separate statement.
“Our growing economy, which is largely driven by output expansion in the services and industry sectors, has created more and better jobs,” NEDA Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a statement.
The economy, as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP), grew by 6.9 percent in the first six months of the year.
The services sector employed the most number of people in July, or 55.3 percent of the total, with those engaged in wholesale and retail trade and the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles accounted for the largest percentage of workers in the services sector at 35.9 percent.
However, the agriculture sector comprised 26.9 percent of the unemployed, and the industry sector accounted for 17.8 percent.
Citing data from the PSA, NEDA noted that unemployment and underemployment posted the lowest rates since 2005, dropping to 5.4 percent from 6.5 percent and 17.3 percent from 21 percent, respectively.
“The unemployment rate in July 2016, the lowest recorded for all July rounds in the past decade, increases the likelihood of achieving the Philippine Development Plan target of 6.5 to 6.7 percent for 2016,” Pernia said.
Youth unemployment rate declined to 13.5 percent from 16.3 percent, while the inactive youth or those who are neither studying nor employed dropped to 22.0 percent from 24.8 percent.
Pernia emphasized the need for the government to help the youth get a job.
“But while this is good news, this still means that there are 4.3 million young Filipinos who are underutilized because their skills are not being enhanced by education, training or employment. Government needs to strengthen its JobStart program, which provides assistance to young Filipinos in finding decent jobs,” Pernia said.
The number of stable wage and salary employment accounted for 61.5 percent or 25.2 million of the country’s total employed persons, while 31.2 percent have their own businesses.
Pernia noted that vulnerable employment remains a concern, as over one-third of the total employed is composed of self-employed and unpaid family workers.
“The sluggish decline of vulnerable employment could partly explain why poverty reduction is slow. These workers are less likely to have formal work arrangements and access to social protection. They are also more at risk during crises or shocks,” Pernia said.
He emphasized the needs for the government to focus on helping vulnerable workers and the unutilized or underutilized and unemployed youth.
“Sustainable livelihood and entrepreneurship schemes for vulnerable workers must be developed by intensifying advocacy for financial literacy, linking them to market supply chains, and providing wider access to capital, credit and technology,” Pernia added.