OFWs not stemming unemployment rate

Published by rudy Date posted on January 6, 2009

The influx of Filipinos securing jobs overseas does not redound to lower unemployment rate in the country after all, a report from the Philippine Migration and Development Statistical Almanac showed.

Despite the annual increases of the number of workers and emigrants departing overseas, and even after government data generators adopted a new definition of “employed” and “unemployed” that included overseas workers in 2005, the total number of unemployed Filipinos has remained at 2.2-million level.

While the Philippines registered its lowest number of actual unemployed workers in 2007 at 2.248 million, according to the Quarterly Labor Force Survey, the ratio of the number of registered temporary and permanent migrants to the number of Filipinos who are jobless reached an 11-year high at 51:51 in the same year. The unemployment rate in 2007 was at 7.4 percent.

In 2007, there were a combined total of 1,158,222 temporary and permanent migrants who re­gistered with government entities. The total is 3.43 percent of the 33.671 million who are employed in the Philippines.

The report added that in 2003, the last year the government used the old definition of “employed” and “un­employed,” the Philippines had its lowest overseas Filipinos-unemployed Filipinos ratio at 25:68, when there were 998,512 overseas Filipinos and 3.886 million unemployed. Domestic unemployment rate was at 10.9 percent.

However, the report acknow­ledged the debate among labor officials whether migration has helped ease domestic employment or that the number of unemployed workers at home would have been greater without overseas migration.

The Statistical Almanac has data of overseas Filipinos in 239 countries of destination and in all 79 Philippine provinces. The Commission on Filipinos Overseas, the Philippine Overseas Employ­ment Adminis­tration, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the University of Santo Tomas Social Research Center, and the Institute for Migra­tion and Deve­lopment Issues had collaborated to produce the statistical compendium.

The Peace and Equity Founda­tion, the Philippine Migrants’ Rights Watch, US-based migrant donor groups Feed the Hungry-Philippines and Save-a-Tahanan Inc., and the Economic Resource Center for Overseas Filipinos partnered in producing this first Migration and Development Statistical Almanac. –Llanesca T. Panti, Reporter, Manila Times

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