Only 500,000 new jobs expected next year

Published by rudy Date posted on December 10, 2008

Only 500,000 new jobs are expected to be created next year, half of the usual one million new employment opportunities generated each year, the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) said.

“Before we used to have one million new jobs yearly. Next year we cannot meet that target,” ECOP president Sergio Ortiz-Luis said in an interview yesterday at the Hotel Intercontinental in Makati.

According to Ortiz-Luis, the formal sector is expected to shrink further to 12 percent from this year’s 16 percent. This means that only 4.7 million Filipinos will be employed in the formal sector.

“Those graduating may not all get jobs but those who have jobs are expected to keep it,”he said.

Meanwhile, ECOP past president Miguel Varela said that 700,000 workers are expected to be displaced next year. He said these people are working in what they call “vulnerable sectors”. Of which, 500,00 are working overseas while the 200,000 are employed locally.

For the overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), Varela said the private sector and the government is already devising ways to help look for alternative markets like Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

In addition to this, he said the government and the private sector are setting up a countryside development fund in order to help those who will be displaced as a result of the slowdown in the global economy.

“We have P100 million ready for those who will lose their jobs,” Varela said.

Varela said the fund, which will be available next year, can be used to start businesses. He said the concept of microfinance lending will be used in disbursing the fund.

Varela said he is not sure how much the interest will be. “It will be considerably lower than the market rate.”

“We have to encourage people to be entrepreneurs. We want to help them,” he said.

Varela said it is expected that many will be laid off given that there are a number of firms, especially the ones located overseas, that are closing shop or employing less people.

He said the government and the private sector are realistic that it is not possible to create employment for all of them.

“We want to give them the necessary capital to probably start their own electronics or garments business,” Varela said. He said there are a lot of employees who lost their jobs in these two sectors.–Ma. Elisa Osorio, Philippine Star

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