Unemployment rate drops as 1M jobs created over a year
Jovan Cerda (The Philippine Star) - September 10, 2014 - 11:27am

MANILA, Philippines - With over 1 million jobs created over a year, the country's jobless rate declined to 6.7 percent in July 2014, down from the 7.3 percent registered a year ago, the Philippine Statistical Authority (PSA) reported on Wednesday.

Data from the July 2014 Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed that 93.3 percent of the country's labor force (aged 15 and above) have jobs, an improvement from the 7.3 percent posted last year. The National Economic and Development Authority noted that the number of employed Filipinos rose by 2.8 percent to 38.5 million in July 2014 from 37.4 million in July 2013. This translates to 1.06 million jobs created over a year.

The underemployment rate similarly went down, dropping to 18.3 percent from last year's 19.2 percent. Employed workers in need of additional jobs or hours of work in their current jobs are considered underemployed, PSA noted.

Data from the state agency showed that three regions had employment rates lower than the national average. These are the National Capital Region (89.7 percent), Central Luzon (91.7 percent) and CALABARZON (92 percent).

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) also went up to 64.4 percent in July 2014 compared to 63.9 percent a year ago. This means the labor market absorbed 879,000 labor entrants, expanding the labor force to 41.23 million.

"To some extent, the growth in the LFPR reflects the more positive outlook of workers in line with the momentum created by the robust economic growth in recent years, along with the expectations of better employment,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

Balisacan said the Aquino administration should continue fostering an economic climate conducive to business and investment to sustain the recent gains in the labor market.

“In industry, the key objective should be to increase investment, especially in labor-intensive sectors, and to encourage the existing pool of employers to hire more workers.  In the immediate term, the demand for labor can be driven by the infrastructure program of government, reconstruction activities in the Visayas and other disaster-hit areas, and private construction.  In services, the focus must be on increasing sales and clients enough to warrant the hiring of workers. There is much room for expansion in business-process management and tourism-related activities,” he added.

In agriculture, Balisacan said there is a need to introduce non-farm employment opportunities during the off-season, such as value-adding activities and community-based employment programs. This would address the seasonal and low-paying jobs in the sector, he said.

“To further support the labor market performance in the medium term, the government should remain vigilant to attendant risks to growth and make sure that pre-emptive measures and programs are in place to mitigate any adverse effects of such risks or shocks in the economy,” he added.

PSA noted that the July 2014 LFS did not include employment data from Leyte, because of the large number of households displaced by typhoon Yolanda last year. The 7.3-percent jobless rate in July 2013 also excluded data from the typhoon-ravaged province to make the estimates comparable.

AQUINO BALISACAN CENTRAL LUZON LABOR LABOR FORCE SURVEY NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION NATIONAL ECONOMIC AND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY PHILIPPINE STATISTICAL AUTHORITY SOCIOECONOMIC PLANNING SECRETARY ARSENIO BALISACAN YEAR
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