Baldoz welcomes SWS survey result showing decline in unemployment, but says DOLE needs to do more

“We welcome the result of the SWS survey showing a 1.8 percent in unemployment, but we continue to be firm that we need to work harder to sustain the country’s gains in creating more quality jobs for our people.”

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz said this yesterday before she left the country to attend the ASEAN Labor Ministers’ Meeting in Myanmar.

“We recognize the problem of unemployment, whether it is shown by the official Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority, or by the SWS and some other surveys. This is why we at the DOLE is decisively helping address the problem by promoting and implementing job creation facilitation programs, such as the delivery of correct, relevant, and updated labor market information,” Baldoz said.

On the latest SWS survey results, Baldoz said she has instructed the DOLE’s Institute for Labor Studies to look closely and deeply at the SWS data not for comparison but to find positive inputs that can help DOLE enhance its employment facilitation programs and services.

“For example, we see that the SWS survey results seem to validate the results of the 4th quarter 2013 Labor Turnover Statistics of the PSA which showed that employment in large enterprises in Metro Manila accelerated to 3.22 percent, the highest recorded since the 4th quarter of 2010,” said Baldoz.

She noted that the SWS survey showed that 36 percent of its respondents are optimistic that job openings would increase in the next 12 months. “This is optimistic outlook is also seen by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas in its First Quarter 2014 Business Expectations Survey which indicate a steady employment outlook indicating sustained favorable economic conditions,” said the labor and employment chief.

According to Baldoz, this indicator in the BSP survey is supported by the higher percentage–32.9 percent–of businesses that say they have expansion plans, up from 30.5 percent in the first quarter of the year.

“With business expansion comes employment generation,” said Baldoz.

Baldoz further noted than in the SWS survey, the number of workers who quit from their jobs fell by 2.1 percent, and those who were retrenched rose marginally by 0.3 percent.

On the other hand, the 4th quarter 2013 Labor Turnover Statistics of the PSA showed that employee-initiated separations, or quits, was placed at 2.14 percent, lower than employer-initiated separations, or terminations, which was placed at 3.51 percent.

“People who quit from their jobs do so maybe to take another better-paying job, or to go into business, or to go abroad. The same could be true to those who are retrenched either because of bad business condition, or due to non-renewal of contracts, circumstances that are beyond the control of the workers,” said Baldoz.

As to the number of first-time job seekers, Baldoz said she is confident that the DOLE’s various employment facilitation programs, particularly the Special Program for the Employment of Students, or SPES, Government Internship Program (GIP), and Youth Employment and Youth Entrepreneurship (YEYE) Program, and Training for Work Scholarship Program are already making their impact so as to have made a dent in youth unemployment.

She made particular mention of the DOLE’s year-round job fairs that bring under one roof employers and job seekers. “Through our job fairs, we facilitate job-skill matching, increase employability, and make it easy for employers to find the right people for their vacancies,” said Baldoz.

Another DOLE initiative that Baldoz said will contribute to addressing youth unemployment is JobStart Philippines, a full-cycle employment facilitation service that involves enhanced career assessment and guidance, life skills training, technical skills training, and internship, which are the major building blocks in preparing young people for productive employment.

“We draw positive lessons from unofficial surveys, including the SWS Quarterly Adult Unemployment Survey. While they are vastly different than the LFS which is the official reference of the government and by the World Bank, ADB, IMF, ILO, and other Philippine development partners, and hence, not comparable, these surveys challenge us to work even harder on our mandates,” said Baldoz.

With Secretary Baldoz in Myanmar are Undersecretary Ciriaco A. Lagunzad, III, POEA Administrator Hans Leo J. Cacdac, Office of the Secretary for Migrant Workers Affairs, DFA representative Mr. Joel Peralta, OSHC Executive Director Teresita Cucueco, Ms, Irene Isaac from TESDA, Ms. Grace Riguer from ILS, and Alice Visperas of ILAB.


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