Think-tank belies NEDA claim of better jobs climate
Poor quality work has marked job generation under the Aquino government, while the country’s jobs crisis reached unprecedented levels. Research group IBON repeated this amid government claims that its mantra of good governance and good economics has led to better job opportunities.
At the recently-held Philippine Economic Briefing 2015, National Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan stated that strong economic growth supported by a pro-active government has led to favorable employment prospects. Balisacan also reported over four million jobs generated over the last five years, with an increase in the share of wage and salaried employment supposedly showing improved work quality.
IBON reiterated however that there is pseudo-job generation in the economy, meaning the quality of work continues to worsen despite seemingly increasing employment. As of July this year, still more than one-third or 34.3% of all employed persons are own-account workers (26.2% or 10.2 million) and unpaid family workers (8.1% or 3.2 million).
In the first quarter of 2015, employment created consisted of 544,000 informal jobs but 137,000 regular jobs were lost. More than 12 million Filipinos or 32.2% work less than 40 hours or are part-time workers. From July 2014 to July 2015, Labor Force Survey figures (excluding Leyte) showed that the underemployed or those seeking additional work rose from 18.3% to 20.8% of total labor force.
Also according to latest government data, the share of non-regular and agency-hired workers rose from 37 to 44 of 100 Filipino workers from 2008 to 2012. The share of regular employees to total employment meanwhile decreased from 72 to only 56 of 100 Filipino workers. Since the beginning of the Aquino administration, IBON estimates the number of underemployed by at least one million, and the number of merely part-time workers by at least 1.5 million. The number of jobless and underemployed Filipinos reaching 12.2 million in 2014 is unprecedented in the country’s history, the group said.
The government has been playing up increased employment to showcase the supposed effectiveness of its Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation-induced neoliberal programs such as labor flexibilization and contractualization. But the rise of low-paying, insecure jobs under its term has increasingly proven that ordinary Filipinos are not the beneficiaries of Aquino’s brand of governance and economics, said IBON.