Malacañang: SWS poll showing more jobless ‘insignificant’

Published by rudy Date posted on May 25, 2011

A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showing that the unemployment rate under the Aquino administration has increased to 27.2 percent was branded “statistically insignificant” by the Palace, insinuating that it departed from the official National Statistics Office (NSO) formula that shows far lesser number of jobless Filipinos.

Deputy presidential spokesman Abigail Valte said the methodology used by SWS in the survey was different from surveys made by the NSO on the country’s labor force which explains the different results yielded by the SWS in its own survey fieldwork.

“We studied the results of the SWS survey and we compared it to the NSO survey on the labor force and if we observe, if we’re just going to read and study it carefully, the SWS used a different methodology in its survey,” Valte said during a press briefing.

Valte added that no less the SWS survey firm admitted that its findings have a +/- 3 percent margin of error which therefore indicates that the unemployment rate figures yielded by the study are “statistically insignificant.”

“It’s not that we’re not convinced (by the SWS survey). It’s just that they have used a different methodology and given that self-admitted plus or negative three percent margin of error, it makes the (unemployment rate) increase statistically insignificant,” she explained.

Valte, nonetheless, said that regardless of the numbers, the administration continues to work hard toward the creation of more jobs for those who are seeking employment. She said this is one of the reasons President Aquino is leaving for Thailand tomorrow (Thursday).

“We are hoping that his (Aquino’s) trip will help stimulate (jobs) upon his return and we hope that he will be able to attract interest also with investors to start a business here and invest their money in our country,” Valte said.

The recent survey showed an increase by four points in the unemployment rate from the 23.5 percen in a survey on November last year.

The latest SWS data puts 11.3 million Filipinos without work in March which grew by 1.4 million from the 9.9 million Filipinos reported jobless in the November survey.

According to the SWS, those unemployed included those who have resigned, who were retrenched, or who are first-time job seekers.

The survey showed around 10 percent of the unemployed left work, while seven percent are looking for their first jobs.

The SWS explained the huge discrepancy between official figures and that of its survey was the result of its using the traditional definition of unemployment which is compiled from respondents who are at least 18 years old, not working and at the same time looking for work.

SWS said those not working but not looking for work such as housewives, the retired and disabled, students were excluded from the labor force.

It noted that from April 2005 onward, the government adopted a new definition of the unemployed that included the concept of availability for work.

“It subtracts those not available for work, even though looking for work, and adds those available for work but not seeking work such as those who were tired or believe no work is available, awaiting results of a job applications, temporarily ill or disabled, bad weather, and waiting for rehire or job recall.

“If the official definition is applied, the unemployment rate among adults of at least 18 years old is 16.8 percent or an estimated 6.1 million in the SWS March 2011 survey.

It is lower than when computed using the traditional definition because the correction for those looking for work but “not truly available” is much larger than the correction for those “actually available” though not looking for work at the moment, it said.

The survey was conducted from March 4 to 7 through face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults in Metro Manila, and the general regions of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The official unemployment figure last January was 7.4 percent unemployment, equivalent to an estimated 2.9 million Filipinos.

The level of joblessness has been high since May 2005, when it fell below 20 percent only three times, the last being in September 2010 when the unemployment rate was 18.9 percent. –Aytch S. de la Cruz, DAily Tribune

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