Thanks to the increasing number of worker hiring in the services and agriculture sectors, the Philippines has enjoyed significantly better employment results  in July 2019 as well as lower underemployment, said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

In a statement, the NEDA said that the Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that employment rate increased by 5.7 per cent in July 2019, from 1.2 per cent in July 2018.

The 5.7 per cent increase roughly translates to 2.3 million jobs, almost five times the 479,000 employment that was generated in the same period in 2018. At the same time, unemployment rate remains steady at 5.4 per cent. This remains to be the lowest unemployment rate recorded for all July rounds of the survey since 2009.

The year-to-date unemployment rate is estimated at 5.2 percent, near the upper end of the 4.3 to 5.3 percent target in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

The year-to-date unemployment rate is estimated at 5.2 percent, near the upper end of the 4.3 to 5.3 percent target in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

“While the Philippine economy has shown remarkable improvements in the labor market, the government should continually improve its efforts toward generating more productive and higher quality employment that provides adequate income for Filipino workers and their families,” said NEDA Undersecretary for Policy and Planning, Rosemarie Edillon.

She also noted that the full implementation of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, and reduction of foreign investment restrictions in public utilities, retail trade and domestic-market oriented firms, were seen to create more employment opportunities for Filipinos.

In the meantime, underemployment rate, which is defined as those who are already employed but not to their full-capacity, also fell to its lowest rate in all July rounds of survey; holding steady at 13.9 per cent, a huge leap from 17.2 per cent just a year ago. This means that there was a reduction in over a million underemployed workers in July 2019.

The workforce participation rate expanded further to 62.1 per cent as more Filipinos were encouraged to join the workforce. Of particular note was the youth participation rate, which saw an increase to 38.3 per cent, 1.5 percentage points higher than the previous survey round.

“The government must continue encouraging the private sector to increase employment opportunities for young people, supporting technical vocational training, promoting apprenticeship and on-the-job training programs among the youth,” said Edillon.

What came as a pleasant surprise was a slight improvement in the female participation rate in the workforce. Traditionally, the assumption of household and family duties had led to a decrease in the number of females participating in the workforce. The Philippine government will still need to speed up programs and policies to include more females into the workforce if they wish to hit their annual target of increasing female LFPR to 50.1 per cent.

“To achieve the target of increasing the female labor participation rate, monitoring and strict implementation of programs and policies geared towards fostering women’s economic participation need to be intensified such as the Expanded Maternity Leave Act and Telecommuting Act, which recognizes alternative work-from-home arrangements in the private sector,” Edillon said.


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