Jobless rate stays at 7% level for third qtr in a row
MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine unemployment rate rose to 7.3% in July, from 7% a year ago, according to the latest Labor Force Survey. This meant 3.002 million Filipinos were unemployed in July, higher than the 2.84 million jobless during the same month last year.
However, the July jobless rate of 7.3% was slightly lower than the 7.5% in April.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan attributed the higher jobless rate to a larger labor force, as well as "inefficient" industries shedding jobs.
The Philippine labor force grew nearly 2% to 41.17 million in July, from 40.4 million a year ago. Of the total, the number of employed Filipinos stood at 38.2 million in July, a 1.7% increase from a year ago.
While some 620,000 jobs were created in July, Balisacan admitted there were also job losses during the period.
"Despite the employment generated, the employment rate slightly decreased to 92.7 percent from 93.0 percent, because of job losses in the accommodation and food service activities subsector, which registered a net employment loss of 238,000. There were also declines in employment in manufacturing (-28,000), mining and quarrying (-14,000) and water supply; sewerage; waste management and remediation activities (-6,000). Moreover, the labor force grew faster at 1.9 percent during the period," he said.
The Labor Force Survey indicated that the unemployed are mostly young people who "lack competency and experience" and without college degrees. High school graduates comprise 32.8% of the unemployed, followed by college graduates with 21.8%, and college undergraduates at 13.6%.
Meanwhile, the underemployment rate improved to 19.2% in July from 22.8% a year ago. The number of underemployed stood at 7.34 million in July, from 8.56 million a year ago.
Underemployment is defined as those with jobs but who want to work more.
"Even though this decline does not indicate a sustainable downtrend, underemployment decreased across all major industry groups. Double-digit declines were recorded in the sectors of agriculture by 13.9%, industry by 13%, and services 15.1%," Balisacan said.
Balisacan addressed concerns that the Philippine economy's fast growth has not translated into jobs, saying this has also been the experience of other emerging economies. In the second quarter, the Philippine economy grew by 7.5%.
"Growth tends to increase optimism among the working-age population such that more people become inclined to look for work. Some jobs are destroyed and new ones emerge in the course of structural transformation. But while jobs are created, current skill sets of the labor force may not be able to meet the growing and shifting demand for labor. This may thus result in an increase in unemployment rate at certain times during the process of structural change" he noted.
However, Balisacan admitted the growing unemployment rate shows that job creation is a big challenge to the country. He said there is a need to accelerate the revival of the manufacturing sector, which has shown job losses in July.
"While positive growth in agriculture employment is encouraging, this was accompanied by employment losses in manufacturing and accommodation and food services activities sectors, which are crucial employment-generating sectors in an emerging economy. This is why it is necessary to accelerate the revival of the manufacturing subsector. This can be done through well-designed and carefully-targeted interventions in certain sectors of the economy that have the potential to deliver massive employment creation and meaningful growth," he said.
|Click image to enlarge