Gov’t committed to improving job quality for more opportunities – NEDA

<p>National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Chief Arsenio Balisacan  <em>(PNA file photo)</em></p>

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Chief Arsenio Balisacan  (PNA file photo)

MANILA – The Marcos administration remains committed to creating a favorable business environment that could generate more job opportunities for Filipinos.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) made the statement following the recent Labor Force Survey (LFS) results that showed an improvement in unemployment and underemployment rates for January.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the country recorded an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in January 2024, which is lower than the 4.8 percent registered during the same month last year.

The country’s underemployment rate in January 2024 dropped to 13.9 from 14.1 percent year on year.

"The government sustains its push to attract more job-generating investments by creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment. At the same time, linkages between industry, the academe, and the public sector will be strengthened to address skill mismatches in the labor market,” NEDA chief Arsenio M. Balisacan said in a news release.

Despite a drop in the unemployment and underemployment rate, the PSA survey showed that the overall labor force participation rate (LFPR) for January 2024 declined to 61.1 percent from 64.5 percent in the same period recorded last year, or about 1.6 million fewer individuals.

Most of the contraction was recorded among women (-1.3 million), the youth (-1.0 million), and junior high school graduates (-652,000).

The top reasons cited for not joining the labor force are household duties, age-related restrictions, such as being too young/old or having a permanent disability, and schooling.

The return to onsite work has limited women’s participation to 49.3 percent from 53.7 percent in January 2023.

Similarly, completely on-site schooling has brought the youth LFPR down to 29.6 percent from 34.8 percent in the same period last year.

“We will remain responsive to the needs of vulnerable groups, including women, youth, older individuals, and those with disabilities. Our existing policy framework governing alternative work arrangements will be revisited,” Balisacan said.

He pledged to always pursue policies that protect women workers and those in vulnerable sectors.

“Our pursuit of policies will be adaptive to the responsibilities of female workers and the evolving work landscape, with a focus on supporting the vulnerable, including those in the creative sector,” he added.

Balisacan was also anticipating the implementation of more positive and transformative employment programs after the approval of the implementing rules and regulations or IRR of the “Trabaho Para sa Bayan” (TPB) Act on March 5, 2024.

Signed by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in September 2023, the law aims to promote the employability, competitiveness, and productivity of workers, and to address such issues as unemployment and underemployment. (PR)