Palace not surprised by uptick in jobless rate
MANILA, Philippines - Unemployment rose in December, according to a new survey by Social Weather Stations (SWS).
BusinessWorld reported that the jobless rate jumped six points to 27.5% for the December 11-16 SWS survey, equivalent to 12.1 million adult Filipinos. This was higher than the 21.7%, estimated at 9.6 million Filipinos, recorded during the previous quarter.
This was the highest unemployment rate recorded by the SWS since August 2012's 29.4%. The official unemployment rate is 6.5% or 2.6 million.
Malacañang said it was not surprised at the unemployment figures recorded in the latest SWS survey.
Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda attributed the possible increase to the series of calamities that hit the country including the Central Visayas earthquake and typhoon "Yolanda". "Yolanda" slammed into parts of the Visayas last November, flattening towns and cities.
"Given the nature of the severity of the three (calamities), especially of typhoon 'Yolanda', where you saw a big chunk of Eastern Visayas affected… I think the rise of the unemployment can be explained here," Lacierda said.
Lacierda said that government is addressing the situation by coming up with cash-for-work programs in calamity-hit areas, adding that jobs are expected to be created with the reconstruction phase kicking in.
At the same time, the SWS survey also showed Filipinos were slightly optimistic that they will get jobs this year. Around 40% of the respondents said the jobs outlook would improve this year, while 31% said it would stay the same and 21% said the number of jobs would decline -- resulting to a net optimism score of +19. This was 15 points higher than net optimism score of +4 in September.
The SWS said this was the highest net optimism score since November 2010, when it stood at "very high" score of +36.
"Adult joblessness has been traditionally dominated by those who voluntarily left their old jobs and those who lost their jobs through economic circumstances beyond their control," the SWS was quoted by BusinessWorld as saying.
The SWS December 11-16 survey involved face-to-face interviews of 1,550 adults nationwide.
Meanwhile, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz attributed the high number of unemployed in the SWS survey to its different methodology.
She said that government is guided by the NSO's labor force survey.
"Laging mataas ang lumalabas sa resulta ng SWS survey because they use a different methodology than the labor force survey also done on a quarterly basis by the National Statistics Office of the NEDA. So parang hindi fair na mag-compare ka, dahil hindi siya apple to apple. Ang methodology totally different but we in government is guided by the labor force survey of the NSO. That has been the case from the beginning. As far as the unemployment is concerned, nasa 7.2 percent tayo," Baldoz said. - With report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News