POST PRANDIUM: The Philippine labor and employment situation

By: Fernando Fajardo February 17,2019 - 07:00 AM



If there is anything that most ordinary people must have in order to prosper in life, it is to have a good paying and secure job. Paid work, according to the World Employment and Social Outlook 2019 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), is a key driver of material well-being, economic security, equality of opportunity and human Development. However, advances in these areas still elude a majority of workers across the world, the ILO added. Being in employment does not always guarantee a decent living, it said.

Unable to get good paying and secure jobs, many workers take up vulnerable jobs in the informal economy, which are typically associated with low pay and little or no access to social protection and rights at work.

The ILO says that some 360 million people, or 11 per cent of the employed, are contributing family workers who lack effective access to social protection and income security. An additional 1.1 billion people, or 34 percent of the global working-age population, work on their own account.

Own-account work can serve as a springboard to entrepreneurship, the ILO says. However, a large proportion of such work involves subsistence activities that many would pursue because of the absence of job opportunities in the formal sector. The ILO says that 85 per cent of own-account workers operate in the informal economy.

Finally, just over half (52 per cent) of global workers are wage and salaried employees. This type of employment is often associated with better working conditions and greater income security.

Overall, a staggering 2 billion workers are in informal employment, accounting for three in five (61 per cent) of the world’s workforce. Many informal workers are, moreover, among the 55 per cent of the global population who do not enjoy any social protection, ILO says. The poor quality of many jobs also manifests itself in the fact that, in 2018, more than one quarter of workers in low- and middle-income countries were living in extreme or moderate poverty, that is on less than US$3.20 per day in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms).

The Philippine labor and employment situation is not much better.

 In 2017, the Philippines had 69.891 million of its population in working age. This went up by 2.07 percent to 71,339 million in 2018. Not all of them would join the labor force, though, as a good number of them are still in school and other institutions such as those who are in hospitals, in prison, in the monastery, or in the military service.

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) is the percentage of the working age group in the labor force. The LFPR was 60.9 percent in 2018 and 61.2 percent in 2017. Thus in 2018, the total labor force was counted at 43.462 million, up by 1.57 percent, from 42.773 million 2017.

In its 2018 Summary of Employment Report, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that out of the total labor force in the country, 41.160 million or 94.7 percent were employed and only 2.302 million were unemployed or 5.3 percent.

Most of the employed worked in the services sector, 56.6 percent. The rest were in agriculture, 24.3 percent, and industry, 19.1 percent. In the services sector, those working in wholesale and retail trade and repair works that pay less normally accounted for whopping 19.4 of the employed. Manufacturing in the industry sector, which pay more. only had 8.8 percent of the employed.

Of the unemployed, 44.6 percent were of the age group 15 to 24 years old while another 30.6 percent where of the age group 25 to 34. The rest, 24.0 percent were of the age group 35 to 64. Only 0.7 of the unemployed were 65 or more in age.

High school graduate and undergraduate accounted for 42.6 percent of the unemployed while college graduate and undergraduate accounted for 37.0 percent.

Finally, 63.8 percent of the employed were wage and salary workers. Another 26.9 percent were self-employed. The rest were employees in family farm and business, 3.6 percent, and unpaid family worker, 5.6 percent.

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TAGS: columnist Fernando Fajardo, Fajardo, Opinion

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