MANILA, Philippines - Men are more likely to be unemployed than women in the Philippines and Thailand, according to a recent report by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
In the Global Employment Trends 2012 report released on Tuesday, the ILO said that the Philippines and Thailand have bucked the trend in Southeast Asia, where unemployment rates for women are higher than men.
In Southeast Asia, unemployment rates for women are estimated at 5.1% in 2011, versus 4.4% for men.
"A number of countries in the region where data are available buck this trend, however, with men being more likely to be unemployed than women in the Philippines and Thailand," the ILO said.
Overall, the unemployment rate in Southeast Asia barely changed at 4.7% in 2011, compared with 4.8% in 2010. The ILO expects the 2012 unemployment rate to remain flat at 4.7%.
The ILO report noted the Philippines may have seen an economic slowdown last year, but has managed to maintain positive growth in employment.
However, the Philippine unemployment rate rose slightly in the second quarter of 2011 to 7.1%, from 7% during the same quarter in 2010.
In October, the jobless rate in the Philippines hit 6.4%, the lowest level in four years, bolstering the Aquino administration's claims of gains in job creation.
"In the Philippines, employment growth has remained positive although it is volatile as a result of fluctuations in GDP growth stemming in part from major tropical storms that damaged agricultural production and displaced large numbers of workers," the ILO said.
One of the critical challenges for the Philippines and Southeast Asia in general are the significant number of workers in "poor quality and low-paid jobs, with intermittent and insecure work arrangement ans poor working conditions."
The ILO estimated 181 million or 62.3% of the region's workers are in "vulnerable" employment in 2010. In the Philippines, 40.2% of workers were in "vulnerable" employment.
Countries are facing several challenges for 2012, such as increasing labor productivity and finding new sources of growth to drive employment creation.
For instance, in the Philippines, productivity levels in industry are nearly double the levels in services.
Pessimistic global jobs outlook for 2012
"Despite strenuous government efforts, the jobs crisis continues unabated, with one in three workers worldwide, or an estimated 1.1 billion people, either unemployed or living in poverty," said ILO director-general, Juan Somavia, in the Global Employment Trends 2012 report.
"What is needed is that job creation in the real economy must become our number one priority," he said.
"Whether we recover or not from this crisis will depend on how effective government policies ultimately are."
The ILO report said governments must coordinate and act decisively "to reduce the fear and uncertainty that is hindering private investment so that the private sector can restart the main engine of global job creation."
ILO senior economist Ekkehard Ernst said at a press conference the recovery started in 2009 was short-lived and there were nearly 29 million fewer people in the labor force now than "would be expected based on pre-crisis trends".
"Our forecast has become much more pessimistic than last year, with the possibility of a serious deceleration of the growth rate," he said.
The report refers to "discouraged workers", those who have decided to stop looking for work because they feel they have no chance of finding a job and are considered economically inactive.
"If these discouraged workers were counted as unemployed, then global unemployment would swell from the current 197 million to 225 million, and the unemployment rate would rise from 6 per cent to 6.9 per cent," Ernst said.
Young people continued to be the hardest hit by the jobs crisis.
"Judging by the present course," the report says, "there is little hope for a substantial improvement in their near-term employment prospects."
The ILO says 74.8 million youths aged 15-24 were unemployed in 2011, an increase of more than four million since 2007 in the total global labor force of 3.3 billion.
Globally young people are nearly three times as likely as adults to be unemployed. The global youth unemployment rate, at 12.7 per cent, remains a full percentage point above the pre-crisis level. - With Agence France Presse