MANILA — Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday expressed confidence over the economy’s ability to create jobs as the Labor Force Survey registered 1.046 million newly employed persons in October 2014, bringing the total employment to 38.839 million, or a 2.8 percent increase, from the 37.793 million employed in October 2013.
“I am elated that we are closing the year 2014 with a generally positive employment picture, with total employment at its new high and unemployment at its lowest since April 2005,” she said after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released on Wednesday the results of the October round of the Labor Force Survey, the official measure of employment in the country.
Baldoz observed that the growth of 1.046 million, or 2.8 percent, in new employed persons in the 2014 October round of the LFS completes the successive growth in employment for the whole year of 2014.
“In the 2014 January LFS, employment grew by 606,000; then it grew by 1.654 million in the 2014 April LFS; and 1.061 million new employed persons were posted in the 2014 July LFS,” she said.
Baldoz noted that the source of employment growth continued to be the services sector, which absorbed 675,000 new employed persons, followed by industry, which pooled in 294,000 new employed persons, particularly construction (+285,000) and manufacturing (+24,000).
Almost all of the industry subsectors also grew, led by accommodation and food services (+165,000), wholesale and retail trade (+140,000), and public administration and defense (+91,000). Agriculture also posted growth of 77,000, a modest 0.6 percent increase from last year’s, with the fishing sub-sector leading the growth (+56,000).
She also observed that the quality of employment continues to improve, with wage and salary workers increasing by 770,000, or 3.5 percent, over the October 2013 data.
The same improvement, she said, is seen in the number of workers in private establishments, up by 3.6 percent, or 605,000, over the 16.855 million recorded in the previous year; in workers for government or government corporations, which increased by 126,000, or 4.3 percent; and in workers with pay in own family-operated farm or business, which grew by 11,000, or 10.1 percent.
“One good aspect of the robust employment growth is the growing private sector and wage employment. This is a good employment indicator because wage and salary workers, or the so-called formal sector workers, are more protected,” she explained.
The labor and employment chief also observed that all key employment indicators were positive in the October 2014 LFS, with the labor force increasing by 925,000; labor force participation rate up 64.3 percent from the 63.9 percent in October 2013; unemployment higher at 94 percent from the 93.6 percent in the previous year; and the mean hours of work up 41.2 from the October 2013 mean hours of 41.
“Unemployment is down from 6.4 percent to 6 percent, and this is a very good sign,” she said.
However, she said that underemployment—which was up by 0.7 percent—continues to be a visible challenge that needs to be addressed.
“Also the proportion of self-employed and unpaid family workers to total employment which, though remains unchanged, is still at 39 percent. These are the vulnerable workers and we need to protect them,” she admitted.
Baldoz expressed optimism that the uptrend in employment will continue, saying her confidence is anchored on the overall effort and commitment of the government, including the DOLE, to implement programs, projects, and services that facilitate employment and make the business climate conducive for job creation and job generation.
“With the continued overall improvement in the employment situation, the DOLE under my watch will intensify some more our efforts to facilitate employment and enhance the employability of more Filipino workers and the productivity and competitiveness of business establishments, particularly the micro, small, and medium enterprises which account for 99 percent of all businesses and 61 percent of total employment in the country,” she said.
“In convergence with other government agencies, for example, we will be relentless in 2015 in delivering up-to-date and relevant labor market information to our workers, in enhancing their skills to increase their employability, and in providing free technical assistance, programs, and services to MSMEs to improve their productivity and, thus, their ability to hire more workers,” she explained.
“With our new labor laws compliance system already in place and proving to be helpful and effective, we shall also continue to raise awareness on general labor standards and occupational safety and health to foster a culture of voluntary compliance with all labor laws.
We shall also continue the winning ways of the already institutionalized mechanism of conciliation and mediation in settling all kinds of labor issues and disputes to sustain our new-found reputation as a regional hub of industrial peace that will attract more job-generating investments,” she added