Despite strong growth, Philippine jobs are scarce

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Phil jobs
Official statistics out the jobless rate in the Philippines at 7.1 per cent, while critics say 11 per cent is more realistic

Even though the Philippines is recording strong economic growth and has drawn attention from international investors due to the two recent investment grade upgrades, the unemployment rate in the island nation remains the highest in Southeast Asia.

Despite a GDP growth rate at a better-than-expected 6.6 per cent in 2012, unemployment rose to 7.1 per cent in January 2013. Records show there were 2.89 million unemployed Filipinos and 7.934 million underemployed Filipinos in the first month of 2013. About 41.8 percent of the underemployed are in the farming sector, and three out of every five Filipinos are highly dependent on agriculture. Analysts even believe the number of jobless Filipinos is much higher, close to 11 per cent, and demand the country strengthen its industrial base to create more jobs.

Furthermore, the country’s poverty incidence stood at 27.9 per cent in 2012 — “practically unchanged” from 2009 (28.6 per cent) and 2006 (28.8 per cent), according to figures from the National Statistical Coordination Board.

In other words, economic growth over the past six years failed to make a dent among the poor, as the percentage of Filipinos living below the poverty line remained the same between 2006 and 2012. The Philippines’ growth rate may be the highest in Southeast Asia, its stock exchange one of the world’s hottest at this time, breaching record after new record and outperforming those in other countries, but, clearly, the economic fruits of that unprecedented bull run have yet to reach the masses.

Structural problems are seen in the fact that the current economy is not designed to create jobs. It is focusing on low value added services, on business process outsourcing, on tourism and on creative industries, sectors that are not creating enough additional  jobs in the country. The government had to admit that it has not been able to meet its target of one million new jobs a year, but hopes that the latest rating upgrades would help generate more jobs for the country’s unemployed through more private investment..

But in lieu of an economic model built on infrastructure and manufacturing, the Philippines is instead dependent on consumption, remittances from its large overseas workforce and the business process outsourcing industry, which largely employs college graduates. However, a strong industrial base would be necessary to give jobs not only to the highly educated college graduates, but also to high school graduates and people with lower skills, critics said.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Official statistics out the jobless rate in the Philippines at 7.1 per cent, while critics say 11 per cent is more realistic

Even though the Philippines is recording strong economic growth and has drawn attention from international investors due to the two recent investment grade upgrades, the unemployment rate in the island nation remains the highest in Southeast Asia.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Phil jobs
Official statistics out the jobless rate in the Philippines at 7.1 per cent, while critics say 11 per cent is more realistic

Even though the Philippines is recording strong economic growth and has drawn attention from international investors due to the two recent investment grade upgrades, the unemployment rate in the island nation remains the highest in Southeast Asia.

Despite a GDP growth rate at a better-than-expected 6.6 per cent in 2012, unemployment rose to 7.1 per cent in January 2013. Records show there were 2.89 million unemployed Filipinos and 7.934 million underemployed Filipinos in the first month of 2013. About 41.8 percent of the underemployed are in the farming sector, and three out of every five Filipinos are highly dependent on agriculture. Analysts even believe the number of jobless Filipinos is much higher, close to 11 per cent, and demand the country strengthen its industrial base to create more jobs.

Furthermore, the country’s poverty incidence stood at 27.9 per cent in 2012 — “practically unchanged” from 2009 (28.6 per cent) and 2006 (28.8 per cent), according to figures from the National Statistical Coordination Board.

In other words, economic growth over the past six years failed to make a dent among the poor, as the percentage of Filipinos living below the poverty line remained the same between 2006 and 2012. The Philippines’ growth rate may be the highest in Southeast Asia, its stock exchange one of the world’s hottest at this time, breaching record after new record and outperforming those in other countries, but, clearly, the economic fruits of that unprecedented bull run have yet to reach the masses.

Structural problems are seen in the fact that the current economy is not designed to create jobs. It is focusing on low value added services, on business process outsourcing, on tourism and on creative industries, sectors that are not creating enough additional  jobs in the country. The government had to admit that it has not been able to meet its target of one million new jobs a year, but hopes that the latest rating upgrades would help generate more jobs for the country’s unemployed through more private investment..

But in lieu of an economic model built on infrastructure and manufacturing, the Philippines is instead dependent on consumption, remittances from its large overseas workforce and the business process outsourcing industry, which largely employs college graduates. However, a strong industrial base would be necessary to give jobs not only to the highly educated college graduates, but also to high school graduates and people with lower skills, critics said.

 

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