RP jobless rate climbs to 7.7 percent

by Kobakila News

MANILA (March 17) – Results of the latest NSO survey showed that the Philippine’s jobless rate climbed to 7.7 percent in January from 6.8 percent in October. The number of people unemployed people have increased to 2.9 million compared with the estimated 2.6 million during the same period last year or an increase in unemployment of 180,000 people.

The jobless rate in January 2008 was at 7.4 percent.

“We are really expecting an increase in unemployment because of the global economic crisis, yet the survey indicated the unemployment level did not worsen dramatically,” Labor Assistant Secretary Reydeluz Conferido said.

Based on the NSO survey, the young persons or those aged to 15 to 24 dominated the unemployed and nearly two out three were men.  Majority of the unemployed were high school graduates and undergraduates.

IBON Foundation, a research group, disputes the NSO survey, claiming the figures are a gross underestimation of joblessness in the country.  It places the number of jobless to have already reached at least a massive 4.3 million.

According to its study, IBON says that although the officially-released figures already show an increase of 180,000 jobless Filipinos, the real unemployment is not 7.7 percent but likely to be at lest 11.2 percent. Combined with the 6.2 million unemployed means that there were at least 10.6 million Filipinos jobless or other looking for more work and pay in January 2009.

The higher estimated made by IBON aims to correct the unwarranted change in the official unemployment in April 2005, which conveniently removes discouraged job seekers and those not available/willing to immediately take yup work from the labor force and hence does not count them as officially unemployed, even if they do not have jobs.  IBON estimated that some 2.5 percent of the working age population 15 years and over should still be considered part of the labor force, which implies an addition 1.5 million jobless on top of the 2.9 million officially reported – for a roughly 4.million jobless.

The additional 2.5 percent, according to IBON, is based on the estimated discrepancy in official and actual labor force participants in 2008.  The number of jobless could be even much higher if, as is likely, labor force participation rates this year become bloated by even greater numbers of discouraged job-seekers.

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