IBON replies to Presidential Spokesperson on employment situation

The Presidential Spokesperson recently said that IBON’s claim of weak annual job creation under the Duterte administration is “mathematically impossible”. There was also the insinuation of being “inept or just maliciously reckless to degrade the achievements of the President”. We are compelled to reply to help the administration come to terms with the reality of the country’s economic troubles and find real solutions.

The presidency has vast resources and can easily verify our computations which use government data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) website. Nonetheless we are happy to share the computations behind the conclusion that the first two full years of the Duterte administration registered the lowest level of job creation among post-Marcos administrations.

The PSA reported employment of 40.998 million in 2016 which increased to 41.160 million in 2018. Subtracting 40.998 million from 41.160 million gives us 162,000. This 162,000 is the net job creation between 2016 and 2018 or, put another way, the sum of new jobs created in 2017 and 2018.

Dividing 162,000 by two gives us 81,000 which, therefore, is the average annual job generation in 2017 and 2018 which are the first two full years of the Duterte administration.

The same exercise was done with PSA data covering the terms of previous administrations.

For the Corazon Aquino administration, employment was 18.8 million in 1986 increasing to 23.7 million in 1992 – for annual job generation of 810,000. Under the Ramos administration, employment increased to 26.6 million in 1998 giving annual job generation of 489,000. Under the Estrada administration, employment increased to 29.2 million in 2001 giving annual job generation of 842,000.

Under the Arroyo administration, employment increased to 36.0 million in 2010 giving annual job generation of 764,000. And under the Benigno Aquino, III administration, employment increased to 41.0 million in 2016 giving annual job generation of 827,000.

IBON has long relied on the data professionally generated and provided by the PSA. We have been open about our concerns on some aspects of official methodologies used such as the change in the official definition of unemployment in 2005 that obscures real trends in unemployment. Still, there is more than enough official data available to counter the alternate economic reality that government propagandists insist on. Greater honesty with the data at hand is the necessary first step in making real development and inclusive growth for the country possible. ###

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