Press Statement
Department of Labor and Employment
18 March 2013

(Following the release by the National Statistics Office (NSO) of the results of its January 2013 Labor Force Survey (LFS), Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday issued a statement saying the survey results validate a healthy environment for decent and productive employment brought about by the robust performance of the economy.

Following is Secretary Baldoz’s statement in full.)

“I am pleased at the results of the January 2013 Labor Force Survey of the National Statistics Office which show that the country’s employment level grew by 1.6 percent, or 606,000 employed persons, in January 2013, placing the number of total employed persons to 37.940 million.

“Although slower than the 2.9 percent growth rate in January 2012, the latest employment growth figure is still a marked improvement from the national total of 37.334 million employed persons a year ago.

“That the quality of employment continues to improve is palpable in the survey results .

“Riding on the back of robust economic expansion, wage and salary employment rose by 2.239 million, or 10.9 percent, from a total of 20.590 million in January 2012 to 22.829 million employed persons in January 2013. Persons in full-time employment increased by 1.515 million, or 6.5 percent, from 23.196 million a year ago to 24.711million in January 2013.

“The number of employed persons in part-time employment declined by 848,000 from 13.701 million in January 2012  to 12.853  million in January 2013.

“Mean hours of work expanded, from 41.1 a year ago to 42.2 this January 2013.

“Furthermore, the proportion of self-employed and unpaid-family workers to total employment dropped sharply by 5 percent, from 41.3 percent a year ago to 36.3 percent this year.

“This decrease in the number of employed persons in vulnerable employment is a Millennium Development Goal indicator and a most welcome development. We hope we can sustain it this year and in the next few years.

“The backbone of the improved quality of employment is in the industry sector which continued its growth momentum by exhibiting a robust 6.0 percent increase, or 330,000 employed persons, year-on-year from or 5.532 million to 5.862 million. This growth got a boost from construction, which grew 8 percent, or an additional 170,000 employment, and manufacturing, which grew 4.5 percent, or plus 135,000.

“Quantity-wise, the employment growth was driven by the services sector which expanded year-on-year by 4.3 percent, or plus 847,000. Employment in agriculture fell by 4.7 percent, or 571,000, due largely to the effect of the recent series of destructive typhoons in Mindanao.

“I recognize that a major downside to the January 2013 LFS results is the rise in underemployment, from 18.8 percent in January last year to 20.9 percent this year.

“In absolute terms, the number of underemployed–persons who expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in present job or additional job or an entirely new job with longer working hours–increased by 916,000 from last year to reach 7.934 million. The desire for additional hours or job could be linked to the issue of low earnings particularly in the services sector where large expansion in employment occurred during the survey period.

“If the low earnings can be directly related to our workers’ need to acquire additional skills or to upgrade their skills, which could be a reason why it is difficult for them to access other job opportunities, the DOLE’s immediate response is to offer them the Training for Work Scholarship  (TWSP) of the TESDA”.

“The survey results further show that  the unemployment rate eased slightly from 7.2 percent in January 2012 to 7.1 percent in January 2013, with the number of unemployed persons increasing from 2.892 million to 2.894 million, or an addition of 2,000. It should be noted that the number of unemployed persons has changed very little since 2006.

“A large chunk of the unemployed belongs to the 15-24 years old bracket, or 49.3 percent equivalent to 1.427 million. Of this number, 488,000 are college graduates, many of whom may need to have skills or experience to qualify for first-time jobs, or whose courses are not what the labor market is looking for. I urge these “educated unemployed” to attend short-term employment bridging courses or skills training. I also encourage them to accept the first job that comes their way to gain experience and become more employable.

“We at the DOLE are optimistic that the gains in employment, borne no doubt by the reforms of the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III, will be sustained in the next quarter and through the full year as national and international confidence in the economic direction of the country gains stronger momentum.”