Despite rising inflation: Employment rate in PH rises to 10-year record high

Despite rising inflation, the Philippine economy is improving since the proportion of employed Filipinos also rose in July 2018.

The latest Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Labor Force Survey July 2018 reported strong job creation, as the Philippine economy added an estimated 488,000 jobs, putting the total number of employed Filipinos at 40.7 million.

This translates to an employment rate of 94.6 percent as of July 2018, which is tied for the highest recorded employment outturn in the last decade.

Conversely, the unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent in July 2018 from the 5.6 percent recorded in July 2017.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), this is the highest figure in the past 10 years among previous July rounds.

Generated jobs for the month of July reached 488,000, bringing the country’s total employment to 40.7 million, the NEDA said.

“We are happy to report that Filipinos are finding more and better jobs, as reflected by the latest Labor Force Survey,” Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said.

“We understand that quality jobs for Filipino workers will enable them to provide for their families and invest in their children’s future, particularly in education and healthcare,” Sec. Diokno said.

Services continue to account for the largest share of the country’s total employment at 57.5 percent, followed by agriculture at 23.1 percent.

The industry sector reached its highest employment share in a decade at 19.4 percent. This reflects sustained job creation in the sector, particularly in manufacturing and construction, fueled by the Build Build Build program and direct investment inflows.

For the first seven months of the year, infrastructure and other capital outlays already reached PHP437.2 billion, rising by 47 percent, year-on-year.

Higher spending for public infrastructure has translated to better employment prospects in the manufacturing and construction sectors, adding 142,000 and 31,000 jobs, respectively.

Despite Rising Inflation

“Despite the problem of inflation, our economy continues to improve,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

Roque also cited a PSA report on the manufacturing sector, which showed that the of value production index grew by 12.2 percent while the volume of production index also grew 11.8 percent for the month of July.

The PSA reported that stable domestic demand and robust investments due to heightened infrastructure projects and consumer spending are seen to sustain the country’s strong performance in manufacturing.

“Our unemployment rate is the lowest, our manufacturing rate is the highest, and our gross national product continues to rise,” Roque said.

Roque said if there is inflation coupled with rising unemployment, it would mean that there really is a problem in the economy.

“If the problem is, there’s inflation and unemployment rose, there really is a problem in the economy,” Roque said.

“But if the problem is inflation but unemployment declined, more are working. This means there is a strong demand, which is a reason why prices of commodities are increasing. This means that the economy is still vigorous,” he added.

Inflation rate rose to 6.4 percent last August from the previous month’s 5.7 percent, bringing the average to date to 4.8 percent.