Though claiming lowest joblessness in the past decade, research group IBON said that government’s latest unemployment figures fail to show the real extent of the jobs crisis in the country. Underemployment and poor quality of work still prevail, said the group.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) recently released the October 2016 results of the labor force survey (LFS). Government figures indicate a 4.7% unemployment rate or 2 million jobless in October 2016. This is a 14% decrease from the 2.4 million unemployed the same month last year. Also in October 2016, results showed an employment rate of 95.7% or 41.7 million employed, and underemployment rate of 18% or 7.5 million underemployed.
IBON said these latest official figures are based on a stringent definition that deflates the actual number of unemployed Filipinos by some 1.6 million and the unemployment rate by some 3.5 percentage points. The labor force and unemployment data do not include discouraged workers or those unemployed who are no longer actively seeking employment due to poor job prospects.
The number of underemployed increased this latest round, IBON noted. Underemployed workers or those working but seeking additional hours and income rose by almost 500,000 to 7.5 million in October 2016 from 7 million in October last year.
IBON added that despite increased employment, there is still a prevalence of poor quality jobs or work that is part-time, insecure, low wage and lacking in benefits. About 13.9 million employed worked less than 40 hours per week, growing by 250,000 from 13.6 million in October last year. IBON’s own September national survey shows that in the face of supposed rising job numbers, seven out of ten Filipinos still see themselves as poor.