Employment rate reaches its highest level in 10 years

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MANILA – The July 2018 cycle of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) reported strong job creation, with the Philippine economy creating around 488,000 jobs, bringing the total number of employed Filipinos to 40.7 millions.

This translates into an employment rate of 94.6 percent, which is the highest employment rate recorded over the past decade.

Conversely, the unemployment rate fell to 5.4% against 5.6% recorded in July 2017.

For reference, the unemployment rate 10 years ago (July 2008) was 7.4 percent.

“We are pleased to report that Filipinos are finding more and better jobs, as the latest Labor Force Survey shows,” Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said on Friday in a statement. “We understand that quality jobs for Filipino workers will allow them to support their families and invest in their children’s future, especially in education and health.

Services continue to account for the largest share of the country’s total employment with 57.5 percent, followed by agriculture with 23.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector reached its highest employment share in a decade at 19.4 percent. This reflects sustained job creation in the sector, particularly in industry and construction, fueled by the Build Build Build program and direct investment flows.

In the first seven months of the year, spending on infrastructure and other capital spending has already reached PHP 437.2 billion, up 47% year-on-year.

Higher spending on public infrastructure translated into better employment prospects in manufacturing and construction, adding 142,000 and 31,000 jobs, respectively.

But then, underemployment fell from 17.2% in July 2017 to 18.6% in July 2018.

“We assure the public that the government’s economic policies remain able to support the creation of quality jobs,” said Diokno. “The Build Build Build program will open up economic opportunities for our workers and attract direct investment, fueling job creation. We invest in the development of human capital to educate and develop the skills of our employees. An agile, equipped and skilled workforce will solve skills mismatch issues and ensure well-paying jobs for our workers. We must also offer additional protection to our workers, while maintaining labor market flexibility, in order to create an environment conducive to job creation.

Up to 40 percent of the national budget is allocated to investments in human capital, especially in education, vocational training, health care and social services.

In the 2019 draft budget, the Ministry of Education (DepEd) allocated PHP 390.8 billion for the School and Learner Support Program, ensuring accessible and high quality basic education to over 22.1 million learners in public schools.

Another PHP 1.9 billion in DepEd’s budget is allocated to the Education Human Resources Development Program to provide training for teachers and other school personnel.

For technical and vocational training, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is allocated 14.8 billion pesos in the 2019 draft budget. Of this amount, 7 billion PHP is allocated to Free Technical and Professional Education and Training, which will benefit more than 200,000 registrants. (RP)


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