When we go out to work or to play in this especially difficult time of high inflation and the lingering but hopefully the end game of the COVID 19 crisis, we see the people on the move, most still wearing face masks and carrying on with life as survivors of a global pandemic that has inflicted deep scars in our economy.
Recovery and figuring out what one needs to do in the evolving post pandemic environment is on the mind of everyone. For most Filipino bread winners, ensuring the economic well being of his or her dependents is the daily challenge.
News reports recently published the findings of the Stratbase group’s commissioned survey conducted thru Pulse Asia Research Inc. which probed into the role of the private sector reveals hard realities that should prove very instructive insight for government on the people’s economic plight.
Conducted on September 17-21, 2022, the study did face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents nationwide and an error margin of +/- 2.8. The survey scoped the National Capital Region, the balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, sampled at 300 respondents respectively.
The first question tested respondents on whether they agreed or disagreed that “The private sector plays a crucial role in accelerating economic growth” to which 86 percent or approximately 9 out of 10 Filipinos agree and only 3 percent disagree. If you apply the error margin that’s practically zero. 11 percent did not give an opinion.
This sentiment aligns with the May 2022 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) report on Employed Person per Sector which estimated 9.4 percent working in government or government-controlled corporations while the rest of the over 90 percent employed individuals are working in the private sector and earning their income from either private enterprise, family operated businesses, or being self-employed.
The economic survival of 9 out of 10 employed individuals in the Philippines are supported by the businesses of the private sector.
The Stratbase commissioned survey also probed on what the public sees are the country’s problems that private investors’ interventions will be important.
The question asked the respondents their opinion on which issues the private sector can address to boost the Philippine economy. Respondents were allowed to identify up to three issues.
Not surprising, creating jobs was the top answer at 69% closely followed by the private sector’s proven ability to “Help uplift the lives of Filipinos out of poverty” at 65 percent. About half of the respondents (49 percent) see the value of private enterprises in expanding livelihood opportunities.
Again, these views are reflective of the PSA’s August 2022 report on the country’s unemployment rate that hit 5.3 percent from 5.2 percent which translates to 2.6 million unemployed with an increase of 79,000 more with no jobs last July.
A year-on-year comparison shows a substantial improvement from the 3.98 million unemployed in august 2021 from jobs created by the gradual increase in economic activities when mobility restrictions were eased.
The Stratbase survey’s test statement on whether “The government and the private sector should engage in partnership in order to sustain the country’s economic recovery” received an even stronger response with 89 percent saying they agree and a mere 1 percent disagreeing and 10 percent with neutral answers.
In my opinion this is virtually unanimous and sends the strongest message to President Marcos Jr. and his administration on the direct impact of the private sector’s economic success and their personal prospects for prosperity.
The highlights of the PSA’s July 2022 Labor Force Survey give a workforce perspective on the current job situation which is of course driven and dominated by the private sector.
The reports said, “By broad industry group, the services sector remained as the top employment hub, having absorbed 58.8 percent of the total employed persons in July 2022.
“The agriculture and the industry sectors accounted for 23.5 percent and 17.7 percent, respectively, of the 47.39 million employed persons in July 2022.”
The year-on-year top five sub-sectors with the largest increases in employed persons listed in the report are: wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (2.14 million); Agriculture and forestry (1.74 million); Accommodation and food service activities (498 thousand); Other service activities (354 thousand); and public administration and defense, compulsory social security (206 thousand).
On the other hand, the report also noted the top five sub-sectors with a total of approximately 202 thousand decreased employments namely: Professional, scientific, and technical activities; Information and communication; Manufacturing; Water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities; and Mining and quarrying.
Our people understand that when the private sector is given the chance to unleash its innate innovativeness, aggressiveness, cutting edge expertise, drive for sustained and long-term growth, and financial resources, the potential is limitless and in this digital world borderless.
Empower the private sector to do what they do best, and we will prosper.