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Labor’s summary

Manila Standard

RATHER disquieting a scenario.

Six months back, the country’s labor market was described as robust, with the lowest unemployment rate recorded in nearly two decades: a 3.1 percent in December 2023, against the comparative period of 4.3 percent in 2022.

The National Economic Development Authority said this represented a regular decrease of 617,000 unemployed individuals.

Similarly, the underemployment rate decreased to 11.9 percent in December 2023 from the 12.6 percent reported in December 2022, which corresponds to 186,000 fewer underemployed or employed persons who desire additional jobs and work hours.

Unemployment refers to the number of people who want a job and do not have one while underemployment represents people who are working but are not working in a job that matches their skills or abilities, often leading to earning less than what they should earn.

But this week the Philippine Statistics Authority reported disturbing figures: the number of unemployed Filipinos rose to 2.11 million in May this year from 2.04 million in April.

PSA chief and National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa told a news conference a 4.1 percent unemployment rate was recorded in May 2024, slightly higher than the 4 percent logged in the previous month.

The country’s employment rate in May stood at 95.9 percent – an improvement from the 95.7 percent in May last year, but lower than the 96.0 percent in April 2024.

Alongside this report, underemployment was down to 9.9 percent from 14.6 percent in April and 11.7 percent in the same month last year.

The number of underemployed was equal to 4.82 million people “who have expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or have additional jobs, or to have a new job with long hours of work.”

The PSA said the number of individuals with jobs reached 48.87 million, higher than last year’s 48.26 million and April’s 48.36 million.

But there is a hushing thought, after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. announced during the 2024 National Employment Summit the existence of a 10-year game plan he called Trabaho Para sa Bayan as the national guide towards greater employment generation and recovery.

“In line with our priorities, and the outcomes that we desire, and strategies stated in the Philippine Development Plan, the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan, the Strategic Investment Priority Plan, and the Workforce Development Plan, the TPB Plan will be one of the driving forces to help create at least three million new jobs by the year 2028,” ,the President said.

“Beyond generating employment, what we want to achieve is creating quality jobs, with special emphasis on ensuring workers’ welfare, empowerment, competitiveness, and security in all sectors of our labor sector,’’ he added.

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