SWS: 1 of 4 in labor force without work

Published by rudy Date posted on May 24, 2011

The army of the unemployed continues to grow under the Aquino administration as the latest Social Weather Station (SWS) survey showed 27.2 percent of the labor force were jobless in March or more than one in four Filipinos who are able to work.

The figure grew by four points from the 23.5 percent unemployment rate in 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 unem-ployed included those who resigned, who were retrenched, or who were 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 it using the traditional definition of unemployment which are 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.

Vice President Jejomar Binay earlier said small business will be key in raising employment for the country as he cited sari-sari store owners and budding entrepreneurs for their contribution in creating jobs and alleviating poverty.

Many do benefit from small businesses,” Binay said.

Binay stressed that micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) such as sari-sari stores help generate employment, thus contributing to the growth of the economy.

Data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) showed that in 2009, MSMEs created 3.5 million jobs or 63.2 percent of the total jobs generated by all types of business establishments that year.

SMEs are government’s partner in fighting poverty,” Binay said.

The Vice President added that he hopes that with the help of private organizations, the Aquino government would be able to provide gainful employment and economic opportunities for the Filipino people so that overseas employment will eventually become a matter of choice and not necessity.

Presidential spokesman Sonny Coloma said the Aquino administration also targets to increase the ratio of investment over gross domestic product (GDP) and create at least one million jobs a year.

He noted that these are concrete performance indicators but are very challenging.

“We are rolling up our sleeves and we’re going to work as hard as it takes to accomplish these targets,” he said. The Aquino administration assumed office in June 2010 so it is putting its programs in place in the 2012 budget.

The Palace official also expressed optimism that the Aquino government can recover from dismal survey ratings recently adding that there’s just a need to effectively communicate to the people about the achievements being made by the administration.

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