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Sunday, June 16, 2024

March jobless rate rose to 3.9%

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Unemployment rate slightly rose to 3.9 percent in March 2024 from 3.5 percent in February, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Wednesday.

The figure, however, was lower than 4.7 percent registered in March 2023, translating into 417,000 fewer unemployed individuals. 

“In terms of magnitude, the number of unemployed persons 15 years old and over in March 2024 was estimated at 2 million. This was lower than the reported number of unemployed persons in March 2023 at 2.42 million. The number of unemployed persons in February 2024 was recorded at 1.80 million,” the PSA said.

The underemployment rate declined to 11.0 percent in March 2024 from 11.2 percent in March 2023.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the government remains steadfast in reducing poverty to single-digit levels by creating more high-quality jobs for Filipinos and fostering a resilient workforce.

NEDA said several sectors contributed to employment gains. In March 2024, the wholesale and retail trade sector saw the highest annual increase, employing 963,000 additional individuals. Manufacturing followed closely with 553,000 new jobs, while public administration and defense added 229,000 employed individuals. 

“We will continue to prioritize creating high-quality and well-paying jobs to address the rising issues of vulnerable employment. We will focus on attracting job-generating investments from the private sector and scaling up social and physical infrastructure to improve our people’s employment prospects to achieve this goal. These will be accompanied by reskilling and upskilling programs to increase employability,” said NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan. 

Balisacan said a medium- and long-term Foreign Investment Promotion and Marketing Plan (FIPMP) is underway and targeted to be completed by June 30.

The Inter-Agency Investment Promotion Coordination Committee, established following the amendment of the Foreign Investment Act, leads the formulation of the FIPMP. 

Balisacan said the government plans to enrich the content of training programs for workers and employers by integrating courses on advanced productivity tools such as data science, analytics, and artificial intelligence. 

“For the government to sustain a robust labor market and reap the benefits of the demographic dividend, it must ensure that people are healthy, educated and skilled. To facilitate the development of soft and hard skills among workers and create a more agile and adaptive workforce, we at NEDA continue to advocate for the passage of the Apprenticeship Bill, Lifelong Learning Bill, and the Enterprise Productivity Act,” Balisacan said.

Balisacan also called for the passage of the Konektadong Pinoy Bill, which NEDA expects to reduce costs and expand access. “Digital connectivity can provide the workforce with more opportunities, particularly for individuals engaged in care work and other household responsibilities,” he said. 

The Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards and National Wages and Productivity Commission’s adherence to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s instruction to conduct a timely review of the minimum wage rate and to study the improvement of the wage adjustment process will help in sustaining employment gains while safeguarding worker’s purchasing power amid elevated prices, he said.


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