The Daily Manila Shimbun


April unemployment falls to 5.7%

June 9, 2017

Unemployment in April declined to 5.7 percent from year-ago figures and underemployment fell to a 10-year low of 16.1 percent, the labor force survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority said Friday. 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 But the services sector—which accounts for more than half of 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,” said National Economic and Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia in a statement Pernia said “increased activity confirms the renewed positive outlook of exporting firms that had anticipated increases in the volume of export production.” 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,” Pernia said. A trend also worth noting is the decline in labor force participation of women to 46.2 percent from 48.9 percent last year. This presents a challenge in meeting the PDP target to increase labor force participation of women to 51.3 percent by 2022. 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 Natin2040, the country’s long-term vision. DMS