Statement of Secretary of Labor and Employment Rosalinda Baldoz
On the results of the January 2015 Labor Force Survey

[Released on March 12, 2015]

The results of the January 2015 Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority encourage us greatly at the Department of Labor and Employment to continue to strengthen our various employment facilitation programs and services with strong partnership with companies and industries and to work harder to further sustain the prevailing industrial atmosphere which we believe had helped the economy achieve remarkable employment gains, not only this January 2015, but in the previous—and hopefully— in the next rounds of the official survey.

With 1.036 million new employed persons added to the 36.418 million employed persons in January 2014, total employment year-on-year has reached 37.455 million, a growth of 2.8 percent.

With this growth, I am confident the room for more employment can accommodate the increasing number of Filipinos joining the labor force, which in the January 2015 LFS, grew by 1.8 percent, or 703,000 persons, to reach 40.090 million. I note that as employment prospects gets brighter, people are inclined to join the labor market.

Employment growth, as shown by the January 2015 LFS, occurred across the three industry groups; although I note that agriculture only added 101,000 new employed persons year-on-year, while industry added 168,000, with construction leading the way (+109,000) followed by manufacturing (+62,000); and services—the biggest gainer—added 766,000 new employed persons year-on-year, mostly in wholesale and retail trade (+292,000); accommodation and food service activities (+148,000); transportation and storage (+138,000).

As I have always maintained, we at the DOLE are also particular with regards the quality of employment created by the growing economy.

In the January 2015 LFS, I note that 737,000 new employed persons, or 3.5 percent, were added in wage and salaried employment—where jobs are more secured and workers more protected—to bring the number of wage and salaried workers to 21.667 million compared to 20.930 million in January 2014. The proportion of the self-employed and unpaid family workers, although the number increased by 398,000, remained steady at 39.1 percent of total employed persons.

As to the number of hours worked—another employment quality indicator—the mean hours of work declined year-on-year, but only slightly by 0.5 percent, from 41.0 to 40.5. On the other hand, the number of those in full-time employment rose from 22.652 million to 23.212 million year-on-year; while those in part-time employment also inched up, from 13.218 million in January 2014 to 13.821 million in January 2015.

I am pleased that unemployment continues to ease down. From 7.5 in January 2014, or 2.969 million, the number of unemployed persons dipped by 11.2 percent to 2.635 million, or only 6.6 percent.

Likewise, under-employment, which persists in an economy like the Philippines’s, has also gone down by 7.8 percent year-on-year, from 4.358 million in January 2014 to 4.102 million in January 2015.

It is the youth employment situation that am very much encouraged by the January 2015 LFS results. The decline is visible. It is a fact that almost half, or 49.1 percent, of the country’s unemployed are young people. From 17.3 percent a year ago, or 1.432 million, the number of unemployed persons 15-24 years old had gone down to 15 percent, equivalent to 1.246 million.

There is no doubt that several of our youth employment facilitation programs, namely, the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES)—which this year seeks to benefit 200,000 students and out-of-school youth, and the newest, JobStart Philippines, which seeks to cut down the school-to-work transition by providing young people with full-cycle employment facilitation services, including an eight-day intensive life skills training, as well as technical training and apprenticeship with enrolled employers, are making a dent in youth unemployment. We are rolling out JobStart this year in Bohol, Cebu, Davao, Tagum, and Palawan, plus in five Public Employment Services Office in the National Capital Region, with a target of 3,200 beneficiaries. The DOLE continues to implement JobStart in Quezon City; Taguig City; San Fernando City, Pampanga; and Gen. Trias, Cavite.

Other youth employment facilitation programs and services that the DOLE continues to strengthen are the Government Internship Program (GIP) and Youth in Employment, Youth in Entrepreneurship (YEYE); and, of course, the youth component of our DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP) which provides grant assistance to livelihoods of Filipinos in vulnerable situations and occupations.

We are also further strengthening implementation of the DOLE-led convergence program to address the gaps between jobs and skills, the Career Guidance Advocacy Program, that counts on the DepEd, CHED, TESDA, and PRC in delivering a comprehensive menu of programs and services, such as the K to 12, labor market information, skills assessment and certification, and  career counseling, including the extensive advocacy and promotion of online job search and job matching resources, such as the PhilJobNet.

With these, we not only look forward to the next survey round in April with the same positive results, but to a more inclusive growth in decent and productive employment opportunities for the vast number of Filipino workers.