Philippine Employment and Unemployment Data

By Azer N. Parrocha

It has always been the country’s ubiquitous goal to provide citizens with decent and productive jobs. This year, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has gone past the barriers of underemployment and has secured more jobs with stable income.

According to the October 2012 Labor Force Survey, the result shows a breakthrough in the country’s jobs here and abroad.It has better quality of employment, in terms of more secured jobs with more stable income for many reasons.

Earlier this December, DOLE Secretary, Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said in a media interview that “underemployment declined both in terms of rate and level, a most welcome development.”

She added that for the same period, visible underemployment rate was down to 11.0 percent from 11.5 percent a year ago. The number of the visibly underemployed also declined by 310,000 to 4.137 million.

This is the third time that unemployment rate breached the downside of the 7.0 percent since 2011. The decline in employment has little effect on unemployment.

Employment decline can also be attributed to the so-called “base effect” which normally occurs following large expansion in the previous period.

As for the large increase in part-time employment and unpaid family workers last year, it swelled the country’s employment base for the first time in many years as net employment generation breached the two million mark (+2.062 million).

This was owing to the withdrawal of part-time workers and unpaid family workers from the labor force this year that brought employment back to its normal growth path.

The number of employed persons now stands at an estimate of 37.668 million, a decline of 2.3 percent, or 882,000 from the 38.550 million employed persons in October 2011, as indicated in reports from DOLE.

Meanwhile, DOLE’s National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) reported a stable industrial relations climate this year.

As the number of work stoppages remain at single digit levels, the country continues to enjoy a peaceful and stable labor relations situation

This was the report to Baldoz of NCMB’s Executive Director Reynaldo Ubaldo, who said that this is the sixth year in a row that the DOLE and its attached agency, the NCMB, managed to maintain strike incidence in a single digit with only three strikes that occurred during the year.

These strikes are one more than the two cases declared in 2011 and comprise a meager 1.4 percent of the 207 notices of strike handled by the NCMB during the year.

The three strikes happened in the National Capital Region, or in the Southern Tagalog Region, or in Central Luzon, all of which have long been regarded as the traditional seat of assertive labor in the country. All of which were declared during the second semester of the year.

Efforts of the NCMB to resolve labor disputes resulted in the facilitation of P911 million in CBA packages and other monetary benefits for 11,231 workers.

Estimated savings (or the amount of salaries and production costs not wasted) as a result of the successful resolution of NS/L and PM cases reached P1.27 billion.

At present, with more people shopping during the holidays, factories, malls, and other business establishments need, and add, hundreds of workers for temporary or seasonal jobs. Such jobs include sales clerks, cashiers, service crews, salesmen, and salesladies, and even gift wrappers, and delivery workers.

The PhilJobnet, the official job portal of the government in the Internet, listed these jobs as among the top 20 vacancies this December, with sales clerks in the number one spot having the highest number of vacancies at 8,991.

There is also a need for call center agents, who are listed at second with 8,022 vacancies; product specialists, third with 6,370 vacancies; financial /accounts specialists, fourth, with 5,060 vacancies; and financial analysts (government) and telephone salespersons, at fifth with 5,000 vacancies, according to PhilJobnet data.

Baldoz explained that skills for service crew, cashier, salesclerks, and salesladies are also among the top 10 skills needed by employers who are registered or who are browsing the PhilJobnet.

Because of the strong holiday spending, the local retail industry is also waxing strong, which means more temporary holiday-season employment opportunities for job seekers, Baldoz added.

Although a holiday-season job could end in January, the experience one gets from a temporary job can open the door when a new opportunity arises in the future, she said.

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