Research group IBON stood by its estimates that close to 300,000 jobs were lost since the start of the Duterte administration, that has been downplaying the fact. The group stressed this after Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) honorary chair Sergio Ortiz-Luis said that IBON’s description of jobs lost is “deceiving”.
Ortiz-Luis reportedly said that it is deceiving to claim that the number of employed decreased by 300,000 just because there is data showing that employment dropped, even if there are new entrants to the labor market.
But Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data reports net employment generation, said IBON executive director Sonny Africa. “Net employment generation means employment created net of employment lost,” he explained.
“Ortiz-Luis’ argument about the number of entrants into the labor force is meanwhile puzzling because this is actually irrelevant in the PSA’s measurement of employed Filipinos,” Africa added. “The number of employed reflects the number of jobs the economy generates, while the labor force measures those who have to compete with each other for whatever jobs the economy generates,” he explained.
PSA figures show that the number of employed fell from 40.954 million in July 2016 to 40.659 million July 2018.
IBON attributed the drop in the number of employed Filipinos to a huge 1.8 million reduction in agricultural employment over the same period. Job losses and expensive food characterize the crisis in the agricultural sector, the group said.
IBON further said that job creation in the rest of the economy was not enough to compensate for the big agriculture job losses. Gross job losses counted 2.2 million while gross job creation was only 1.9 million, hence the 295,000 drop in the number of employed.
The biggest job generation is in sectors that do not necessarily indicate a strong economy, IBON said, such as in the public sector and construction. The group added that net job creation from July 2017 to July 2018 is feeble at 488,000 additional jobs compared to the 701,000 jobs created on average annually in the decade prior to the Duterte administration. This failed to offset the 783,000 jobs lost in July 2017 from July 2016.
IBON said that Ortiz-Luis joins the administration’s economic managers in being dismissive of the jobs crisis becoming more severe under the Duterte administration. “They have on the contrary hyped latest employment statistics as the highest among July rounds in the last 10 years, deflecting the issue of massive job losses,” the group said.
“It’s the economic managers that have been deceiving us, apparently Mr. Ortiz-Luis included,” said Africa.