The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said the labor market situation improved as the employment level in the country expanded by 4.3 % in April 2009, indicating that the steps taken by the government to help workers cope with the global economic slowdown have begun to pay off.
Citing the April 2009 labor force survey (LFS) of the National Statistics Office (NSO), Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said the total employed persons in absolute terms increased to 34.993 million in April 2009 from 33.535 million in the same period last year. This translates to a net addition of 1.458 million employed persons in the labor force.
Correspondingly, Roque said that unemployment decreased to 7.5% in April from 8.0% a year ago. This corresponds to total unemployed persons of 2.830 million, a reduction of 84,000 from the previous year level.
Roque said the increase in the number of employed persons underscored the government's focus on employment generation and preservation as a crucial strategy aimed at helping the people cope with the economic crunch.
The measures taken by the government to generate jobs include the Comprehensive Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (CLEEP) that employs low-income and unemployed workers in various government projects. The program also extends enterprise development services to needy workers who want to engage in small business enterprises.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also issued Executive Order 782 on February 10, 2009 directing all government agencies and instrumentalities to allocate and utilize 1.5 percent of their budget for operating expenses for the temporary hiring of qualified displaced workers and their dependents.
The government, at the same time, intensified the provision of training scholarships to equip worker-beneficiaries with skills that are essential in their search for jobs. Meanwhile, the DOLE issued early this year guidelines for establishments opting to implement flexible work arrangements as an option to retrenchment of workers.
The measures, Roque said, have started to reap benefits with the expansion of the employment level in April this year. He added that the employment increase augurs well in the efforts to raise people's incomes and consumption and subsequently economic activities.
The DOLE Chief noted that employment growth occurred in all sectors except in manufacturing. The top employment gainers were agriculture, hunting and forestry (+390,000), wholesale and retail trade (+358,000), public administration (+133,000), construction (+108,000). Other notable gainers were real estate, renting and business activities (+70,000), and other community, social and personal services (+64,000).
By class of workers, growth occurred among self-employed persons and wage and salary workers, upped by 8.0% (+803,000) and 2.5% (+445,000), respectively, from their year ago levels.
For the same period, persons in part-time employment increased by 19.9% or 2.377 million as persons in full-time employment declined by 4.5% or 925,000.