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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   20 December 2012 

Philippines growing economy fails to halt joblessness


Despite the surprising economic growth in this year’s third quarter, joblessness in the Philippines slightly worsened in October compared to the same month last year.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) said yesterday the unemployment rate stood at 6.8 per cent, or about 2.8 million unemployed people, which is higher than the 6.4 per cent unemployment rate recorded in October 2011.

Metro Manila registered the highest unemployment rate at 11 per cent, while Cagayan Valley recorded the lowest at 2.4 per cent.

Almost half (48.5 per cent) of the unemployed were in the 15 to 24 age bracket, while more men (62.1 per cent) had no jobs than females (37.9 per cent), the NSO reported.

In a statement, Arsenio Balisacan, director general of the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), said that despite the growth in the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), which reached 7.1 per cent in the third quarter, unemployment is still the government’s “greatest challenge”.

“Achieving rapid economic growth is one thing, but inclusive growth is clearly another. Given the latest labour and employment figures, generating employment and ensuring that these are of good quality remain our greatest challenge,” Balisacan said.

Rene E. Ofreneo of the School of labour and Industrial Relations said the higher unemployment rate is an indication that the positive GDP the country experienced is not “job-creating”.

“Growth in the stock market and a few sectors like BPO (business process outsourcing) doesn’t touch everybody. It’s time for the Aquino administration to seriously address the joblessness,” he said.

According to the NSO, which released the results of the labour Force Survey quarterly, the employment rate, or the proportion of employed people to the total labour force, was at 93.2 per cent.

Out of the estimated 37.7 million employed people in October, workers belonging to the service sector comprised the largest proportion with 52.6 per cent of the total employed.

Of the service sector employees, those engaged in wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles accounted for the highest percentage (18.7 per cent of the total employed).

On the other hand, the number of underemployed, or employed people who still want additional hours of work, was estimated at 7.2 million—translating to an underemployment rate of 19 per cent.

It was just a little lower than the underemployment rate of 19.1 per cent recorded last year.

The NSO said less than a half (44.3 per cent) of the underemployed were working in the agriculture sector and around two-fifth (40.5 per cent) were working in the service sector. The underemployed in the industry sector accounted for 15.2 per cent.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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