Jobseekers swamp gov’t job website

Published by rudy Date posted on March 20, 2009

MANILA, Philippines—Amid the economic downturn, more people are hunting for jobs online, particularly through a site hosted by the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE).

Dominador Aquino, supervisor of the, said the website had been counting some 7,800 “unique hits” daily since December last year, nearly double the 4,000 registered before the crisis. “Unique hits” refer to the number of individuals who visit the site.

“The names and the hits just kept coming in the past few months … Before that, it was not that heavy,” Aquino said in a phone interview.

Part-time work, too

The latest figure is a conservative estimate, he said. It only refers to the hits on the main page of the site and does not include the number of access on other parts of the portal, he explained.

Aquino said that even those with jobs were looking for part-time work to augment their income.

With unemployment rising, Aquino said, the DoLE website, which connects workers and employers, has become popular.

The Labor Force Survey conducted by the National Statistic Office in January showed that the unemployment rate rose to 7.7 percent or 2.85 million people in January, up from 7.4 percent or 2.67 million in the same month in 2008.

According to the DoLE website, 77,125 applicants registered and applied for jobs through the portal. Listed were 56,649 vacancies and 4,780 advertisements for skills needed.

The top vacancies are a mix of professional and unskilled work. The website also listed 1,860 openings for call center agents, 700 for field researchers and 614 for domestic helpers.

Information technology specialists, factory workers and sales clerks were also wanted.

Aquino said the agency could not monitor how many applicants had actually found jobs through the site. He noted that only a few companies report to the DoLE when they hire through the website.

New stimulus plan

One of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s top economic advisers said the Philippine economy actually created 586,000 jobs despite the global recession, but urged the government to launch a new stimulus plan because the worst has yet to come.

Albay Gov. Joey Salceda said the new jobs emerged from policies that were implemented starting last year, such as tax reliefs, food subsidies and agricultural investments.

Salceda said that 311,770 of the jobs, or 54 percent, were in retail trade, 86,596 were in education and 60,720 in agriculture.

He said, however, that the number of jobs created since December was much lower than the 861,000 in October.

This could be the effect of the 2008 policies starting to wear off or the effects of the global recession starting to be felt since at least 121,570 jobs were already lost in the manufacturing sector, Salceda said.

Lethal mix

He attributed the increase in unemployment to the rapid growth of the labor population.

“Population growth plus global crisis equals a lethal mix,” said Salceda, a top stock market analyst before he was tapped by Ms Arroyo to be part of her economic team.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque said the entry of new graduates into the labor force could jack up the unemployment rate by less than a percent.

Salceda said the government should adopt a “real” economic stimulus package, worth at least P360 billion, to be spent from 2009 to 2011 to fund its conditional cash transfer (CCT) program.

The CCT grants cash allowances to poor families who should use the money to buy food and fund the education of children. — Kristine L. Alave with a report from Joanna P. Los Baños, Inquirer Southern Luzon

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