“I am pleased to note that the result of the 2015 April Labor Force Survey validates our optimism on the country’s overall employment situation. I further note that these results sustain the gains in decent work and Millennium Development Goals (MDG) indicators on employment which we begun to achieve under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III.

“On employment growth, which is one of the decent work indicators, the 2015 April LFS shows that the number of employed persons increased by 495,000 to reach 39.15 million, or 93.6 percent. This is higher by 1.3 percent over the 2014 April LFS of 38.66 million, or 93 percent.

“Consequently, the increase in employment resulted to a decrease in unemployment. In the 2015 April, unemployment dropped to 6.4 percent from 7 percent in 2014 April, with the number of unemployed persons recorded at 2.681 million compared to 2.924 million a year ago, a difference of 243,000.

“The increase in employment was also accompanied by a decrease in underemployment-another decent work indicator. In the 2014 April LFS, underemployment was 18.2 percent. This went down to 17.8 percent in 2015 April, or from 7.02 million to 6.98 million. The only dent in this positive note was that the ratio of self-employed (numbering 11.034 million) and unpaid family workers (numbering 4.334 million)-which is also a decent work indicator-reversed its decline and slightly rose by 145,000 to reach 11.034 million and 4.334 million, respectively.

“Another decent work indicator is the ratio of unemployed youth to total employment. The result of the 2014 April LFS was very encouraging, as the  number of unemployed persons aged 15-24 years old decreased to 1.350 million (14.9 percent) from 1.457 million (15.7 percent) in 2014 April. The unemployed youth rate in the 2013 April LFS was 16.8 percent.

“On this indicator, we are definitely already reaping the fruits of our programs addressing the problem of youth unemployment, such as the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES); Youth Entrepreneurship Program; Government Internship Program; and the one-year old JobStart, a DOLE-ADB-Canada joint program that aims to shorten school-to-work transition by providing the youth, local government units, and Public Employment Service Offices, with full-cycle employment facilitation services.

“Women’s participation in the labor force, both a decent work and MDG indicators, slightly eased down, from 51.3 percent in 2014 April to 51 percent in this survey round. While this is a decline, it is still an improvement over the 2013 April LFS rate of 49.4 percent and maintains the above 50 percent threshold that women’s participation in the labor force has breached-under the Aquino III administration-for the first time in many years.

“Another decent work indicator is quality of employment. I observe that the number of wage and salary workers continues to increase. In the 2015 April LFS, the number has reached 22.637 million, up by 418,000 from the 22. 219 million recorded in the 2014 April LFS, or a modest growth of 2 percent compared to the 4.3 percent growth exhibited in the 2013 April LFS.

“This growth was led by the 189,000 increase in the number or employed persons in government or government corporations, and the 178,000 increment in workers in private establishments, the total of which offset the decline in the number of workers with pay in own family-operated farm or businesses (-5,000) and employers in own family-operated farm or businesses (-69,000).

“The growth in employment was fuelled by increases in services, which grew by 776,000, and in industry, which rose by 121,000. The growth in these two sectors was large enough to absorb the decline in agriculture, which recorded a decrease of 402,000.

“In industry, manufacturing decreased slightly by a percentage point, while mining rose by half percentage point. Construction posted the biggest gain of 167,000 in new employed persons.

“In services, almost all subsectors recorded high growth, except arts, entertainment and recreation (-30,000) and activities of households as employers (-20,000). Wholesale and retail trade were among the winners in services, adding 210,000 to total employment; transportation and storage (+109,00); public administration and defence (+162,000); and information and communication (+67,000).

“Regionally, except Regions 10, 11, Caraga, and ARMM, all regions posted employment growth. Only the NCR remained unchanged, with 4.709 million in employed persons.