Up to 200,000 Filipinos could lose jobs this year--official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 13 2009 10:43 PM | Updated as of Feb 14 2009 06:47 AM

Lay-offs this year could affect 40,000 to 200,000 Filipino workers, a senior official of the government's economic planning agency said Friday.

"That's the range for the whole year, a big range. Definitely, it will raise the unemployment rate," Dennis Arroyo, head of policy planning at the National Economic Development Authority, said in a statement.

He emphasized, however, that unemployment rate will not reach 10 percent.

The unemployment rate for October 2008 was recorded at 6.8 percent.

Arroyo said this issue is being addressed by the Department of Labor Employment by shifting overseas Filipino workers (OFW) from countries with weak demand to those with strong demand.

"The Middle East countries are responding to the crisis by pump-priming and spending on infrastructure projects. That will boost OFW unemployment in construction. There are also new markets in Guam, New Zealand and South Australia," he noted.