MANILA –Joblessness in the US could be a reason why the number of Filipino nurses taking the United States national licensure examinations decreased, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said on Thursday.
"The confidence of foreign workers in America’s economic supremacy has clearly been shaken by the staggering job losses there," TUCP secretary general Ernesto Herrera said in a press statement.
Herrera said Filipino nurses’ desire to seek employment in the US by taking the National Council Licensure Exams (NCLEX) dropped by 21.38% in nine months to September this year.
From January to September of this year only 11,854 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time. Herrera noted a decrease of 3,225 compared to the 15,079 that took the test in the same period last year.
In the July to September quarter alone, Herrera said only 3,582 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time, down 1,660 or 31.66% as against the 5,242 that took the test in the same quarter in 2008.
He said the decline in the number of Filipino nurses seeking to practice their profession in the US comes even after the establishment of an NCLEX testing center in Manila.
In the whole of 2008, a total of 20,746 Filipino nurses took the NCLEX for the first time. This was down 3.5% compared to the 21,299 Filipino nurses that took the test for the first time in 2007.
Filipinos still account for four out of every 10 foreign nurses seeking to enter the US nursing profession.
According to Herrera, the aggregate remittances of Filipino workers in the US, including some 200,000 nurses, fell by $635 million or 11.84% to $4.731 billion in the seven months to August this year compared to $5.366 billion over the same period in 2008.
The former senator said the US lost some of its attractions as a country that offers greener pastures not only to foreign nurses but also to other highly-skilled workers.
A total of 7.6 million Americans have lost their jobs since the start of the US recession in December 2007. Since then, the number of unemployed Americans has doubled to 15.1 million, with the national jobless rate at 9.8 percent, according to the US Department of Labor.