Press Release
April 23, 2007

Employment rate hits 92.2%; RP can do better -- Angara

Senator Edgardo Angara said yesterday that although the employment rate in January 2007 was very promising, he believes the country can do better by aiming for zero-unemployment.

Being second best is not an idea we should comfortably settle for, Angara said. We can make things happen in this country and zero-unemployment is not an impossibility.

The employment rate in January 2007 was estimated at 92.2 percent, which pegged the unemployment rate at 7.8 percent. This means that nine in every 10 persons in the labor force were employed. By comparison, the employment rate in January 2006 was 91.9 percent.

Cagayan Valley topped the regions in terms of employment rate with 96.9 percent, followed suit by Zamboanga Peninsula (96.3%), Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) (96.2%), and MIMAROPA (96.1%). The National Capital Region (NCR) surprisingly, inked the lowest at 87.3 percent.

Recent statistics have also shown that among the various occupation groups, laborers and unskilled workers make up the largest proportion of the total population of the employed (32.3%). This was also the largest occupation group in January 2006 (31.4%). Farmers, forestry workers and fishermen registered the next largest group of workers with 17.6 percent in January 2007 and 19.5 percent in January 2006.

Government, industry players, and foreign and local investors should look into the possibility of tapping the workforce population, or better yet, specific occupation groups for a particular business endeavor, Angara explained. Filipino unskilled workers are just as dedicated to their work as, perhaps, office professionals.

The National Statistics Office (NSO) also reported that more than half (53.4%) of the total employed population in January 2007 were wage and salary workers. This, it said, is higher than the estimate reported in January 2006 at 50.2 percent. Wage and salary workers work mostly for private establishments (39.4% of total employed).

Those working for the government or government corporations, on the other hand, consist of only 7.8 percent of the total employed. Own-account workers constituted 35.1 percent of the total employed with self-employed workers having the largest share (30.4% of total employed).

The potential of the Philippines to provide needed jobs for its countrymen is immense. I cannot say it enough: it is possible for unemployment to be a thing of the past. But we can only accomplish this task if government will do away with graft and corruption. It must, instead, focus on jobs generation for its constituents, Angara concluded.

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