Living in relative comfort in Sydney, Australia cannot make me count my blessings I have a job or in the event of losing it get financial support from the government (around 50% of the average wage). When I think of the many back home still struggling to get a job, this is what makes me wake up every morning in thinking of ways of getting additional foreign investments to the country to create more job opportunities. The task is not easy but the potential gain is intrinsically fullfilling.
May 31, 2012
Philippines tops neighboring countries in unemployment
UNEMPLOYMENT was the highest in the Philippines in January 2012 compared with six other Asian countries which also reported stronger economic growth last year, data from the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES) showed.
The total number of unemployed persons in the country reached 2.9 million in January 2012 or 7.2% of the 40.3 million Filipinos in the labor force. This was lower than the 7.4% unemployment rate recorded in the same period last year.
Indonesia reported a 6.6% unemployment rate. The other five Asian countries reported fairly low unemployment rates: Malaysia, 3.1%; Singapore, 2.0%; Thailand, 0.4%; China, 4.1%; and South Korea, 3.7%.
“This suggests that joblessness is more severe [in the Philippines] than other countries in Asia,” University of the Philippines economist Benjamin E. Diokno said.
Jorge V. Sibal, dean of the University of the Philippines School of Labor and Industrial Relations, attributed the result to the relatively slower economic growth of the country.
“The country’s GDP [gross domestic product] is a little bit below the average economic growth in the region. Also, economic growth in the Philippines is much slower compared with the other six countries,” Mr. Sibal said.
“With much stronger economies, job production is relatively high in these countries compared with the Philippines,” he added.
The Philippine economy grew 3.9% last year, weaker than the GDP growth rates of Indonesia (6.5%), Malaysia (5.1%), Singapore (4.8%), China (9.2%) and South Korea (6.1%), except Thailand which expanded by only 0.1% due to floods that dragged down its economy.
Mr. Sibal, however, said that the Philippines may recover in terms of economic growth within the year, which should translate to more jobs.
“Foreign investment in the country is improving as the government focuses on its anti-corruption campaign. Also, the continued conditional cash transfer program will help poverty reduction in the country,” Mr. Sibal said.
Mr. Diokno, however, said labor market prospects remained bleak.
“Prospects don’t look good because one million new workers join the labor force every year. It would be highly improbable to break the 7% unemployment rate in the next three years,” Mr. Diokno said. — Daniel Anne Nepomuceno-Rodriguez