ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
PHL unemployment rate down 5.7 percent in April
Unemployment rate in the Philippines dropped to 5.7 percent in April from 6.1 percent a year, results of the Philippine Statistics Authority's latest Labor Force Survey showed Friday.
In a separate statement, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) noted that sustaining employment figures, while improving related services, is crucial to meeting the government’s key targets in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 — the Duterte administration blueprint for the country's development.
"In particular, the decreasing unemployment rate must be sustained together with higher job creation to reduce unemployment to around 3 percent by 2022," the NEDA said.
Meanwhile, underemployment rate—the proportion of employed persons wanting additional work—reached its lowest in more than 10 years at 16.1 percent in April.
The NEDA said that April's underemployment figure is lower by 962,000 workers or 12.9 percent compared with underemployed workers recorded in the same month last year.
Employment in the agriculture sector increased by 1.2 percent, with net employment gains of 125,000 workers.
Industry employment increased to 7.4 million, and manufacturing posted employment gains of 1.6 percent, equivalent to an additional 55,000 workers.
“Increased activity confirms the renewed positive outlook of exporting firms that had anticipated increases in the volume of export production,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA chief Ernesto Pernia noted.
The services sector—which accounts for more than half of the country’s total employment—recorded a net employment loss of 557,000 workers.
“This loss could be an effect of the 2016 election spending fully tapering off. It is possible that recent changes in labor policies regarding contractual workers may have had an adverse effect on firms’ hiring decisions,” Pernia said.
He added that the government should innovate employment opportunities by developing low-cost, labor-intensive but efficient methods for meeting current infrastructure needs and essential health and education services.
“Close coordination between sectors should also be in place for easier skills-matching. We can further enhance current programs like the Government Internship Program (GIP) and JobStart Philippines to help workers make informed career decisions and acquire skills necessary in today’s competitive environment,” the NEDA chief said.
The NEDA also took note that women's labor force participation went down to 46.2 percent from 48.9 percent.
"This presents a challenge in meeting the PDP target to increase labor force participation of women to 51.3 percent by 2022," Pernia said.
"To reverse this trend, NEDA notes that the government needs to work on the full implementation of the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Law, on improving access and affordability of child care services, and on crafting policies that promote work-life balance, which is among the aspirations of Filipinos, according to a national survey for AmBisyon Natin 2040, the country’s long-term vision," he said.--GMA News
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