“I am pleased to observe that the result of the 2015 July Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the Philippine Statistics Authority underscores the government’s sustained progress in addressing the country’s overall employment situation, including 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 July LFS shows that while the number of employed persons decreased overall by 108,000 to reach 38.344 million, or 93.5 percent on account of the reduced employment in the agriculture sector, full-time employment (workers doing 40 hours and over) improved to 25.741 million from 24.103 million, a 6.8 percent growth rate, or a net increase of 1.638 million, while part-time employment (workers doing less than 40 hours) declined by 1.607 million. The improvement in full-time employment translated to an increase in the mean hours of work, from 40.9 to 42.4.

“The increase in employment in services was the biggest, at 521,000 new employed persons, while industry employment grew by 247,000. Overall, this growth offset the loss of 877,000 in agriculture.

“The quality of employment, a decent work indicator, likewise continues to show signs of improvement, evidenced by the 1.479 million increase in wage and salary workers and the sharp decline in the proportion of self-employed and unpaid family workers to total employment, from 38.4 percent to 34.3 percent in this July 2015 LFS.

“This is the lowest vulnerable employment rate ever recorded since 1990.

“Consequently, the increase in employment resulted to a decrease in unemployment. In the 2015 July LFS, unemployment dropped further to 6.5 percent from the 6.7 percent recorded in the 2014 July LFS. The number of unemployed persons stands at 2.680 million compared to 2.778 million a year ago, a difference of 99,000.

“The 2015 July LFS, however, has a recurring challenge, which we acknowledge. Underemployment—another decent work indicator— rose, reaching 20.8 percent over the 18.3 percent recorded in the same period last year.

“This employment indicator gives us at the DOLE plenty of hope—and work ahead—as   we commit to redouble our efforts in carrying out 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 soon-to-be-rolled out 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.

“I make particular mention of the GIP. From 198 beneficiaries in 2013, the number of young and talented Filipino youth who were given the opportunity to join the DOLE and other government agencies for them to get a feel of government work, had reached 22,522, or more than 112 percent increase in 2014. For 2015, the government has allocated another P511 million for the program, for a national target of 7,131 beneficiaries. As of June 2015, the interns placed have reached 7,321, or 102.66 percent accomplishment rate. As for the second semester of the year, the government sees to place 1,474 more interns.

“This is opening up equal opportunities even for the youth in far-flung communities.

“The SPES, the most popular and extensive of all DOLE’s employment facilitation programs which, for the past five years, has benefited 691,333 poor, but deserving, student-beneficiaries across the country with short-term, paid employment, continues to be a flagship program.

“Our hope is also placed high on JobStart Philippines which aims to provide young people the best possible full-cycle employment facilitation services, including a tried-and-tested strategic range of enhanced career assessment and guidance, life-skills training, technical skills training, and internship. JobStart will take full swing with its roll-out this year.

“In August, I have graced the occasion of the graduation of 601 beneficiaries of the project’s pilot phase, in Pasay City.

“A total of 3,200 youth beneficiaries will be targeted this year along with 14 Public Employment Service Offices in the roll-out phase, which will be until 2020, with the following targets: 24 PESOs and 6,200 beneficiaries in 2016; 34 PESOs and 9,200 beneficiaries in 2017; 44 PESOs and 12,200 beneficiaries in 2018; 54 PESOs and 15,200 beneficiaries in 2019; and 64 PESOs and 18,200 beneficiaries in 2020.

“Part of our long-term plan is the institutionalization of JobStart to make it a permanent fixture of the government’s job facilitation mandate.  The DOLE sees JobStart as a long term proposition. That is why we have provided technical support to the House of Representatives and the Senate on the drafting of the JobStart bills, House Bill No. 5468 and Senate Bill 2889, respectively, which Rep. Karlo Alexei Nograles, Representative, 1st District of Davao City, and Chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment; and Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment and Human Resources Development, are shepherding in the legislative branch.

“We are strongly committed to continue and to further strengthen the implementation of DOLE interventions in order to sustain the decent work gains, as well as narrow the gaps, particularly underemployment and youth unemployment.

END

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