Unemployment in the Philippines


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According to the National Statistics Office website, unemployed is defined as all persons who are 15 years old and over as of their last birthday and are reported as without work; AND currently available for work; AND seeking work OR not seeking work due to the following valid reasons:
1.) Tired/believed no work available
2.) Awaiting results of previous job application
3.) Temporary illness/disability
4.) Bad Weather
5.) Waiting for rehire/job recall

The preliminary results of the new Philippine Labor Force Survey pegged the labor force population as of January 2006 at 35.2 million. Of this figure, 8.1% is unemployed and 21.3% is underemployed. It is alarming to note that the incidence of underemployment went up to 21.3 percent in January 2006 from 16.1 percent a year ago.
I remember the DOLE Secretary saying, just last week, that the reason why too many Filipinos remain unemployed is that they are too picky in choosing their jobs. The figure about underemployment contradicts that, Mr. Secretary! Pinoys are now too complacent to even choose. They have no choice but to compete for what are available. And, the slots are scarce. I would like to quote what the investigator of the Ultra Stampede said, “They treated them like animals. They lured them with a piece of meat.” Same applies here. A little slice of meat for millions of unemployed. Although with this case, no one lured. The government is not the only unit to blame…
Also from the same survey, the agriculture, fishery and forestry sector posted the highest increase in employment at 475 thousand. Employment in this sector grew by 4.2%, from 11.4 million in January 2005 to 11.8 million in January 2006. That may be good news. But, if we dig deeper into the details of the figures, is it not these industries are just “absorbing” what other industries can’t? A great chunk of the underemployed might be slumped into these industries. I heard that in the province, some of the students who graduated from state universities and technological institutes have no choice but to till the farms or fish just like their parents. There is no other work. I’m not underrating these jobs. I will just have to argue that, again, why train a person for a job that he would never have. It’s a waste of resources!

Let’s just hope for the best. The survey also predicted “a better employment situation” in the 1st quarter of 2006.
Just a reflection: 6 months ago, I was included in the unemployed statistics. Now, I am among the underemployed. That is better than having no job at all.

To read the whole survey, it's here: http://www.census.gov.ph/data/sectordata/2006/lf060102.htm


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