Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz
Department of Labor and Employment
5 May 2014

(Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz issued the statement below following media reports saying Philippines as the ASEAN country with the highest unemployment rate, quoting from the International Labor Organization’s Global Employment Trends 2014).

“The government is facing the challenge of “jobless growth” squarely and with more vigorous efforts. Programs are already in place to boost employment, such as our intensified job-skill matching and employment facilitation; enhancement of the productivity of micro, small, and medium enterprises; facilitating the mobility of professionals–all to enhance the employability of workers and the competitiveness of enterprises.

“We are improving our labor market information delivery systems, working on a cross-country skills recognition framework through the Philippines Qualifications Framework and Asian Qualifications Referencing Framework, and effectively sustaining our job placement mechanisms, which the ILO Global Employment Trends 2014 Report says will benefit both economies and workers in the ASEAN.

“Without belabouring the ILO Report further, I state that the Philippines adheres to the 1982 ILO Standard on the measurement of unemployment which considers an individual unemployed using the following three criteria:

(1) without job;
(2) looking for work; and
(3) available for work.

“Practices in the measurement of unemployment using these criteria through the Labor Force Survey vary from country to country, such as periodicity of data collection, relaxation of a criteria, and reference period, thus, resulting to non-comparability of unemployment rates.

“For example, Malaysia and Thailand collects unemployment data every month, while Cambodia collects data only once a year. On the other hand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia conducts their LFS every quarter, like the Philippines.

“Also, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia have relaxed their application of the criteria, “seeking work,” while Thailand, Singapore, and Vietnam have not. Specifically, the Philippines has relaxed the criterion, “seeking work”, in its unemployment measurement to include those who did not actively looked for work on account that no work is available, temporary illness/disability, bad weather, awaiting result of previous job application, and awaiting for re-hire/job recall.

As to reference period, the Philippines follows the ILO standard, “available for work during the reference period”, with an added two weeks following interview date; Singapore and Cambodia use the reference period, “two weeks following interview date”; Thailand uses the reference period, “past week”; while Indonesia and Malaysia use, “not specified.”


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