Gov’t intensifies efforts to create high-quality jobs for PH labor force — NEDA

The government’s priority is to create high-quality and high-paying jobs to address the rising issue of vulnerable employment, particularly among self-employed and unpaid family workers, said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

This statement follows the release of the July 2023 Labor Force Survey (LFS), with the unemployment rate in the country further easing to 4.8 percent in July 2023 from 5.2 percent in the same month last year.

However, the labor force decreased by 3.1 million in July 2023 from last year’s period. This brought the labor force participation rate to 60.1 percent, down from 65.2 percent in July 2022. Meanwhile, total employment went down by 2.8 million in July 2023.

Moreover, the number of underemployed persons in July 2023 was registered at 7.10 million, translating to an underemployment rate of 15.9 percent and equivalent to 562,000 additional underemployed persons. This rate is higher than the 13.8 percent underemployment rate in July 2022.

“The entire government remains committed to improving the business climate in the country to attract more investments, which will lead to the creation of high-quality and high-paying jobs,” said NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

He also reiterated the importance of fast-tracking the implementation of the FY 2023 budget and the government’s infrastructure programs bannered by the ‘Build-Better-More’ infrastructure flagship projects that aim to strengthen the country’s competitiveness and create more job opportunities for workers.

Lastly, Balisacan expressed the administration’s priority to roll out programs enhancing the skillsets of Filipino employees.

“We will focus on expanding upskilling and retooling programs to improve the country’s labor market performance. These are critical to assisting members of the workforce, particularly those in vulnerable employment, to improve their employability and allowing them to move across industries and occupations,” he added.

Meanwhile, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the country’s labor profile is holding on.

“The July 2023 labor numbers show that the country’s jobs market continues to hold strength. In order to sustain this amid an uncertain global economy, the government will continue its efforts to attract job-generating investments, enhance the ease of doing business in the country, and boost productivity,” Diokno said.

The employment rate increased to 95.2 percent compared to 94.8 in July 2022 although the underemployment rate registered an increase at 15.9 percent compared to the recorded rate of 13.8 percent in July 2022.

However, the level of employment declined year-on-year (YoY) in July 2023 mainly due to lower employment in Wholesale and retail trade (declined by 2 million), Agriculture and forestry (1.6 million), and Public administration and defense (271 thousand). In addition, these could be partly attributed to elevated inflation levels, adverse weather conditions, and moderate government spending.

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) decreased to 60.1 percent from 65.2 percent in July 2022, translating to 46.9 million who were either employed or unemployed.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) attributed this decrease to a shift in focus of unpaid family workers to household duties, along with those that expressed that they are too young to be in the workforce and those who believe that there are no available jobs in the market.

By major sectors, Services remained the top employment hub accounting for 59.4 percent of the total employed persons. This is followed by Agriculture and Industry accounting for 21.5 percent and 19.0 percent, respectively.

The top three sub-sectors that registered increases in employment were Transportation and storage; Administrative and support service activities; and Professional, scientific and technical activities.

By worker classification, wage and salary workers, mainly those working in private establishments, continued to have the largest share in employment at 67.2 percent. This was followed by those self-employed at 25.2 percent and unpaid family workers at 4.5 percent.

The youth LFPR decreased to 29.6 percent from the 37.1 percent recorded in the same period last year. Likewise, the youth employment rate decreased to 86.0 percent from 88.1 percent in July 2022.

To help boost employment, the government will continue to promote investments by maintaining a sound macroeconomic environment and pursuing structural reforms.

“We are intensifying the implementation of necessary policies and measures to help upgrade the knowledge and skills of our workforce, particularly the youth, thereby improving their productivity, competitiveness, and employability,” Secretary Diokno said.

The government is also committed to monitoring inflation through the Inter-agency Committee on Inflation and Market Outlook (IAC-IMO) in order to facilitate production and trade.

Catch up plans for the second half of the year to address government underspending in the first half will also be implemented, particularly on infrastructure development, which has high multiplier effects.

Proactive responses to external developments are also being implemented to minimize the adverse effects of external shocks on the domestic economy.