MANILA — The country’s employment and quality of work was at its worst in 2009, with around 64.4% to 81% of the 39.4 million-labor force in 2009 either jobless or in poor quality work. Its true unemployment rate of around 11% counting 4.32 million jobless Filipinos puts the Philippines in the worst crisis of joblessness and of poor quality work in its history.
According to research group IBON, the average unemployment rate for the period 2001-2009 is 11.2%, which is the country’s worst nine-year period of sustained high joblessness since 1956. Unemployment rates were much lower in 1956-1960 (8%), 1961-1970 (7.3%), 1971-1980 (5.4%), 1981-1990 (10.2%) and 1991-2000 (9.8%).
IBON added that the estimated jobless figures grossly understate the seriousness of the country’s job crisis. Although statistics show that 35.06 million are employed, the figure actually includes 4.22 million “unpaid family workers” and 12.16 million “own-account workers” covering those in informal sector work.
Also, the category “wage and salary workers” covered by employment figures that imply job security and stability includes another layer of poor quality work: 4.67 million non-regular wage and salary workers or those with casual, contractual, probationary, apprentice or seasonal status and 11.21 million wage and salary workers employed but with only verbal contracts or none at all.
These layers of poor quality jobs partially make up the underemployment figure of 6.69 million in 2009. It covers those employed but nonetheless still looking for more work and income, but may not reflect those discouraged or otherwise practically unable to find the time for any additional work given their current job. Meanwhile, 36.4% jobs in 2009 were merely part-time work at 12.75 million.
These figures sum up to 25.35 to 31.91 million Filipinos– or 64.4% to 81% of the country’s labor force either jobless or in poor quality work– the combined unemployed, unpaid family workers, own-account workers and non-regular or non-contract wage and salary workers.
Amid record high unemployment and worst quality of work, the country’s employment situation remains the greatest challenge for the next administration, IBON said.