President Ferdinand Marcos JR. on Thursday urged employers, laborers, and various stakeholders to stand united in fostering the complete recovery of the labor market amid the prevailing economic challenges.
Executive Secretary Lucas P. Bersamin, representing the President, served as the guest of honor and keynote speaker at a ceremony marking the 90th founding anniversary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.
In his address, President Marcos encouraged stakeholders to contribute to the creation of more high-quality jobs in the pursuit of a progressive and inclusive Bagong Pilipinas (New Philippines).
“As we pursue a progressive and inclusive Bagong Pilipinas…let us continue to work together to produce not only more jobs but also quality and meaningful employment that will uplift the lives and dignity of every Filipino worker,” he said.
President Marcos commended the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) for its 90 years of dedication to promoting gainful employment opportunities and safeguarding workers’ rights and welfare.
“This underscores not only the enduring spirit of public service at the DOLE but also your unwavering commitment to ensuring full, decent, and productive employment for every Filipino worker,” he said.
The President also acknowledged the awardees and invaluable partners of the government, affirming that labor protection and industrial peace stand as priorities for his administration.
“I hope that these awards will encourage you to sustain your advocacies, as well as inspire all our people to strive even harder to build a strong and resilient workforce,” Mr. Marcos said.
Earlier this week, the Philippine Statistics Authority said the national unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in October from 4.5 percent in the same month last year, the lowest tally since April 2005.
In absolute numbers, the PSA said about 2.09 million Filipinos were unemployed in October this year, down from 2.24 million in the same month in 2022.
The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) attributed the positive labor market developments to the government’s efforts to create an environment conducive to high-quality job creation. NEDA also emphasized the importance of expanding reskilling and upskilling opportunities for Filipinos to keep pace with evolving job demands.
The October 2023 labor force survey showed a positive employment rate of 95.8 percent, exceeding the 95.5 percent recorded in October 2022 and marking the highest level since April 2005. The figure translates into about 47.80 million employed Filipinos aged 15 and above, up from 47.06 million employed in the same period last year.
The underemployment rate, which refers to the percentage of employed individuals seeking additional work hours, also declined. The PSA reported an 11.7-percent underemployment rate in October 2023, down from 14.2 percent in October 2022.
The Labor Force survey showed that most new employment opportunities were generated in middle-skilled (+334,000) and high-skilled occupations (+897,000), primarily driven by the expansion of the tourism and information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) sectors.
NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan expressed optimism the labor market would continue to improve, citing the Marcos administration’s focus on promoting trade and investments, which are expected to boost job creation.
“We can make the labor market more inclusive by attracting more investments, particularly those that bring in new and better technology. We also need to expand and enhance learning opportunities to equip Filipinos for future jobs,” Balisacan said.