DOLE insists employment situation has never been better

Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Unemployment is not as bad as some surveys have shown, according to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz.

She said her agency’s Labor Turnover Statistics showed that employment in large enterprises in Metro Manila was up 2.47 percent in 2012, from 1.88 percent in 2011.

She also said there were indications that more jobs would be made available to Filipinos in the near future.

“One indicator that there will be more jobs this year is the number of job vacancies reaching a record high of 268,278 job vacancies in January 2013,” Baldoz pointed out.

She said that in the Labor Day Job fair last Wednesday, about 15,234 job seekers were hired on the spot out of 68,305 registered qualified applicants.

The Labor chief explained that the other surveys on unemployment, such as the Social Weather Stations’ Quarterly Adult Unemployment Survey, are different from the National Statistics Office (NSO) Labor Force Survey, which is the official reference of the government in measuring unemployment.

Other institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund recognize the NSO survey.

“For one, the methodologies of the two surveys are not the same. The SWS has a respondent coverage of 1,200 aged 18 years old and above, while the LFS (labor force survey) has a respondent coverage of persons 15 years old and above in 51,000 households,” she explained.

Baldoz said SWS surveys historically show higher unemployment figures than NSO’s.

But Baldoz said the SWS First Quarter 2013 Adult Unemployment Survey included positive aspects, such as having 34 percent of respondents expressing belief that more jobs would be available to Filipinos in the next 12 months.

The SWS survey also supported findings by the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) that job displacements from shop closures and retrenchments had been going down.

Under its Job Displacement Monitoring System, BLES said only 30,603 workers were affected in 2012, compared to the 35,526 in 2011 and 36,583 in 2010.

Baldoz said the contribution of employment to the economy should not be assessed solely on the basis of unemployment data, but on the quality of employment as well.

One indicator of quality of employment is employment growth in the major sectors, Baldoz said. 

Another indicator is the increase in the number of persons in full-time employment. The figure was up by 6.5 percent, or 1.515 million in January 2013.

“As a result of the increase in the number of wage and salaried workers, the number of self-employed persons declined by 8.1 percent and unpaid family workers dipped by 17.5 percent,” Baldoz said.

The proportion of persons in so-called vulnerable employment, or self-employed persons and unpaid family workers in total employment, also dropped to 36.3 percent in January 2013 from 41.3 percent in January 2012.

Baldoz said DOLE is vigorously working with other government agencies in addressing the problem of jobs mismatch.

Mismatch clouds data

It was such mismatch between job vacancies and available skills that was contributing to the high unemployment figures shown in recent surveys, Team PNoy senatorial candidate Juan Edgardo Angara said.

“It is incorrect to say that we have ‘jobless growth’ when the truth is, we have available jobs but there’s a mismatch between job vacancies and available skills,” Angara said.

He said the latest findings underscore the need for the educational system to match its course offerings with the actual needs of the economy.

“The jobs are there. The Labor Day nationwide job fair offering more than 400,000 jobs is clear proof that there are jobs amid better-than-expected 6.6 growth last year. But we just have to match job vacancies and available skills,” he said.

Angara, chair of the House committee on higher and technical education, said he intends to institute reforms in the country’s educational system to solve the mismatch problems if he gets elected.

He is the main proponent of the Bill of Rights of New Graduates, which provides incentives to fresh graduates so they can easily secure employment or start a business after graduation.

The measure seeks to compel DOLE, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration and the Public Employment Service Offices to coordinate with private industries and higher educational institutions in sharing of information on job openings throughout the country and in making such information readily available to the public.               – With Paolo Romero


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