Jobs crisis intensifying under Duterte — IBON

Opinion & Analysis Jul 27, 2018 at 4:38 pm

break-fishermen_bulatlatResearch group IBON said that despite recently hyped growth of 6.8% in first quarter 2018 the country’s jobs situation continues to worsen under the Duterte administration.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the employment rate grew slightly to 94.5% in April 2018, while the unemployment rate was lower at 5.5 percent. The jobs situation seemed to improve as the number of employed Filipinos rose by 625,000 and the number of unemployed declined by 83,000. The government largely attributed this to increased infrastructure spending.

According to IBON estimates correcting for government underestimation, however, the number of unemployed actually grew by 82,000 to 4.1 million in April 2018 from 4 million in April 2017. Official unemployment figures do not reflect discouraged workers or those who have dropped out of the labor force after failing to find work after six months.

The agriculture sector, which is the second largest source of employment among the country’s sectors, had the most job losses, said the group. Official data shows that the number of employed in agriculture fell by 723,000 to 9.8 million in April 2018 from 10.5 million in April 2017. The sector has been plagued with job losses for the past four consecutive rounds of the labor force survey. IBON also noted that the agriculture, hunting and forestry subsector lost 558,000 jobs, while fisheries lost 134,000. The fisheries subsector had notable job losses for all labor force survey rounds under the Duterte government.

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Aside from only a few super-rich families holding one half of total Filipino family income, there is a huge gap between how much majority of ordinary Filipino households earn monthly, and that of the country’s top earners. But government’s market-oriented policies tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer, such as slapping more taxes on widely-consumed goods, increasing or imposing more user fees as in power, water and transportation, allowing contractual jobs that provide measly pay and deprive workers of benefits, and pegging wages at low levels. These further widen the gap between rich and poor. #Birdtalk2018 #SONA2018

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