Press Release
June 19, 2008

Villar: Use P1.3 T budget to help unemployed college graduates

Senate President Manny Villar today said the recent job figures, which show higher unemployment and underemployment rates, are slowly displaying the effects of fuel hikes and urged government to use its P1.3 trillion budget to create jobs.

Villar said higher operating costs have prevented the usual job generators from absorbing new entrants to the labor force.

He pointed to a "disconnect" between growth performance of certain sectors and employment rates, "which means that we are having jobless growth."

Industrial output, Villar said, grew 3.9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier but job data released today showed industry shedding 261,000 jobs in April as compared to a year ago.

"Manufacturing lost close to 183,000 jobs in one year's time. There's a job hemorrhage in this sector and this was at a time when the full brunt of oil price hike spiral hasn't peaked yet," Villar said.

Villar said the "evaporation of jobs" will cancel any good news that the government "will try to put as a spin on GDP growth figures."

Villar said "the unemployment rate and its twin, the underemployment rate" both rose in the April Labor Force Survey results released by the National Statistics Office.

Unemployment is up 8 percent from 7 percent, year-on-year, while underemployment also jumped from 18.9 percent to 19.8 percent.

In absolute numbers, there were 2.9 million unemployed in April, and 6.2 million underemployed. Underemployed are persons who expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or in an additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.

"What is alarming about this data is of the 2.9 million unemployed, almost one in five, or 553,000 were college graduates, and 21 percent or 612,000, had college education," he said.

"In 52 weeks, the number of jobless grew by almost 225,000 and the underemployed by 248,000," Villar said.

Villar said the 33.5 million employed persons reported in April "could have been inflated as it includes 4.2 million unpaid family workers, those who are out of job and whose work is considered fully employed per government definition ."

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