NEDA: Gov’t is committed to improving job quality for Pinoys

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has assured the Marcos administration remains to creating a favorable business environment that could generate more job opportunities for Filipinos.

NEDA made the statement following the recent release of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) results that showed an improvement in unemployment and underemployment rates for January.

Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) figures show the country posted an unemployment rate of 4.5% in January 2024, lower than the 4.8% registered during the same month last year. The country’s underemployment rate last January also dipped to 13.9% from 14.1% year on year.

NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said 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,” he added.

Despite a drop in the unemployment and underemployment rate, however, the PSA survey showed that the overall labor force participation rate (LFPR) for January 2024 declined to 61.1% from 64.5% 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% from 53.7%  in January 2023. Similarly, complete on-site schooling has brought the youth LFPR down to 29.6% from 34.8% 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, adding the government will always pursue policies that protect women workers and those in other 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 said he also anticipates 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 Marcos in September 2023, the law aims to promote the employability, competitiveness, and productivity of workers, and address the issues as unemployment and underemployment.