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Marcos vows sustained job creation as unemployment drops

Alexis Romero ↗ – The Philippine Star

February 9, 2024 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos assured the public that his administration would sustain measures that create jobs, lure investments and upgrade the skills of workers after the Philippines recorded a drop in unemployment rate last month.

According to the December 2023 Labor Force Survey released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the unemployment rate in the country went down to 3.1 percent from 4.3 percent in December 2022 and 3.6 percent in November 2023.

About 1.6 million people were jobless in December, lower than the 2.22 million recorded in the same month in 2022 and 1.83 million in November 2023.

The Philippines’ employment rate rose to 96.9 percent last month from 95.7 percent in December 2022 and 96.4 percent in November 2023, the PSA reported.

The number of employed persons reached 50.52 million in December 2023, higher than the 49 million and the 49.64 million posted in December 2022 and November 2023, respectively.

Last month’s labor force participation rate hit 66.6 percent, higher than the 66.4 percent posted in the same month two years ago and the 65.9 percent recorded last November.

The underemployment rate was at 11.9 percent in December, down from 12.6 percent in the same period in 2022 but higher than the 11.7 percent recorded in November 2023.

In an X post, Marcos said he was “pleased” to see what he described as the “significant progress and resilience” in the Philippine labor market.

He claimed that the higher labor force participation rate indicated a “growing confidence” in the economy.

The higher employment rate means more opportunities for the workforce while the lower underemployment rate indicated an “improvement” in job quality and stability, the President added.

“This positive momentum is attributed to robust growth across all major industry groups, with construction, agriculture and services leading the way,” Marcos said.

Marcos vowed to continue efforts to attract investments, generate jobs and promote economic activity, citing policies and programs like the Public-Private Partnership Code and the 4PH Housing Program.

He said his administration would also pursue up-skilling and re-skilling initiatives and promote innovation to equip Filipino workers with the necessary skills and adaptability to thrive in many high-quality employment opportunities.

DOLE bucks legislated wage hike

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has cautioned the Senate against the possible adverse impact of granting a P100 legislated wage increase to minimum wage earners nationwide.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said DOLE has already presented inputs to the Senate concerning the proposed P100 legislated increase in the daily take-home pay of the estimated 4.2 million minimum wage earners nationwide.

Based on a simulation they conducted, Laguesma said the increase in minimum wage could result in additional 15 to 20 percent hike in the operational cost of companies.

It could also lead to wage distortion that will require employers to adjust the salaries of those receiving higher than the prescribed minimum wage.

Micro, small and medium enterprises, which comprise a majority of business enterprises nationwide, may not be able to afford the wage hike.

Laguesma said a legislated wage hike may also discourage investors from expanding their business operations in the country. As a chain reaction, it could also result in increased prices of commodities as companies pass on the operational cost to consumers, he said.

The labor chief, however, clarified that DOLE is not opposed to the proposed legislated wage increase and merely presents the possible scenarios.

He further noted that the Senate has the power to legislate laws while DOLE is mandated to implement them.

Laguesma said DOLE will await the final decision of Congress and take the appropriate steps. If mandated, he said, DOLE will craft the necessary implementing rules and regulations.

While the Senate is deliberating on the proposed legislated wage hike, Laguesma reported that 15 of the 16 Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards have granted salary hikes for minimum wage earners in their respective jurisdictions.

The latest Labor Force Survey indicating a rising trend in the number of employed people nationwide inspires DOLE to further enhance its employment programs, he said. –  Mayen Jaymalin

Kaylie Pferten
Kaylie Pferten
A pilot of submersible crafts in a former life, now married to my husband David and writing about investment advice.

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