The Philippine government remains committed to enhancing the country’s labor conditions and promoting the creation of high-quality jobs, as employment statistics continue to improve, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that employment increased to 48.8 million in February 2023, which is 3.32 million higher than the 45.48 million employed persons reported in February of the previous year. Additionally, the country’s unemployment rate decreased from 6.4 percent in February 2022 to 4.8 percent this year.
“The most recent data on the country’s workforce suggests that the Philippine labor market is steadily recovering. The lifting of various restrictions that previously impeded employment opportunities has resulted in an increase in job prospects for Filipino workers,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.
Furthermore, the unemployment rate among the youth, defined as individuals aged 15 to 24, decreased significantly from 14.2 percent in February 2022 to 9.1 percent this year.
The country’s labor force participation rate rose to 66.6 percent in February 2023, up from 63.8 percent during the same period in the previous year. This translates to an increase of 2.7 million Filipinos joining the labor force on a year-on-year basis, with 1.9 million of them being female. Significant increases were observed among the prime working age group of 25 to 54 years old (+1.6 million) and among individuals who completed junior high school (+1.1 million).
Despite the improved performance of the labor market, challenges to improving the quality of employment across sectors still remain.
Thus, the country’s chief economist said that the government should persist in enabling the creation of high-quality jobs on the demand side and ensuring the upskilling and retooling of workers on the supply side.
“On the demand side, the strategy to create high-quality job opportunities begins with attracting more investments especially in infrastructure and in improving the regulatory environment. These interventions will improve the competitiveness of the entire economy and result in greater investor interest in other industries. Our participation in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and the amendments to the Public Service Act pave the way for more high-paying job opportunities being made available to Filipinos,” Balisacan said.
“NEDA has recently published the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the amended Public Service Act. The next step is for the regulatory agencies to revise their regulatory processes accordingly,” he added.
Additionally, he stated that the government will boost its efforts to raise awareness among the workforce regarding the current opportunities for skill enhancement.
Currently, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) provides micro-credentialing, ladderized programs, and three-year diploma courses.
Meanwhile, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has partnered with several IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) companies to enhance the competencies of the workforce in accordance with industry needs.
“On the supply side, there is a need to improve the dissemination of information and awareness campaigns to encourage workers to utilize the existing resources for upskilling and retooling,” said Balisacan.
Catherine R. Cueto