Notwithstanding the reading by the media of the downside of the employment situation, the Department of Labor and Employment yesterday said there is more to the latest quarterly survey of the National Statistics Office than the unemployment rate alone.
"The NSO's labor force survey shows that the quality of employment continues to improve," Secretary Marianito D. Roque said, highlighting the fact that wage and salary employment increased by 7.3 percent over last year's, as the survey showed.
"The number of persons in full time employment also increased by 500,000, or 2.2%, while self-employed workers and unpaid family workers fell by 335,000 and 174,000, respectively," Roque said.
The DOLE chief explained that the dip in the number of self-employed and unpaid workers mean either of two things: the self-employed and unpaid family workers could have dropped out of the labor force or found full-time employment.
On the unemployed, Roque said the number of workers that entered the labor force – 1.089 million – higher by 0.3 percent than last year's, could have contributed to the spike in the number of unemployed persons – 173,000 – which is generally at the same level as that of July 2008.
Roque also said that the survey also shows that total employed persons grew by nearly a million – 916,000 – albeit lesser than last year's growth of 3.8 percent, or 1.275 million. The survey says the employment level increased by 2.6 percent to 35.509 million from 34.593 million a year ago.
He attributed the modest hike in employment to the government's economic stimulus program. Also noting that the DOLE itself has embarked on several emergency employment projects nationwide.
"This is how we see the NSO's labor force survey. We are concerned with the unemployment rate, but we are also hopeful about the quality of employment that continues to improve and for which we continue to focus our work on," Roque said.