Nograles: Lowest unemployment rate since 2005 signals gov’t on right track

THe Philippines posting its lowest unemployment rate since 2005 signals that government efforts to provide jobs to Filipinos are on track, the chair of the House of Representatives’ labor and employment committee said.

“The 3.6 percent unemployment rate indicates that the government is on the right track in providing jobs to our people as we recover from the losses caused by the pandemic,” Rizal 4th District Rep. Fidel Nograles said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority recently reported that the estimated number of unemployed individuals in November was 1.83 million, a decrease from the 2.18 million recorded in the same month in 2022. 

This decline, from 2.09 million in October, resulted in the unemployment rate dropping to 3.6 percent from the 4.2 percent reported in both November 2022 and October 2023.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority, it is the lowest jobless rate recorded since the PSA changed its unemployment measurement approach in April 2005.

Nograles however noted that there should be greater effort to create alternative working schemes to increase the labor force participation rate, which slid to 65.9 percent from 67.5 percent in November 2022. 

The decrease was mainly due to reduced participation of young people (34.4 percent from 40 percent) and women (55.4 percent from 57.8 percent) in the labor force, influenced by family responsibilities, schooling, and age-related factors.

The lawmaker agreed with NEDA Sec. Arsenio Balsican’s call for the need to expand the digital economy, including the digitalization of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and startups, to address the declining labor force and increase labor market gains in 2024 and beyond.

Nograles also urged the government to put in place mechanisms to protect workers in agriculture and other sectors that would be affected by the impending drought due to El Niño this year.

“These gains will quickly turn to losses if we are unable to implement measures that address the challenges posed by El Niño and their effect on our people’s employment,” he warned.

“Hindi lang trabaho, kundi pati seguridad ng pagkain ang nanganganib dahil sa tagtuyot na dala ng El Niño ngayong taon. These are grave issues that we must address decisively and urgently,” Nograles added.

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