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PIA Press Release

Employment up despite El Niņo

Manila (18 June) -- Despite the devastating El Nino phenomenon, employment in the country still registered an increase, achieving robust growth in the services and industry sectors and a marked improvement in the number of persons engaged in full time jobs, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said.

Citing the April 2010 Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the National Statistics Office (NSO), Acting Labor and Employment Secretary Romeo C. Lagman said that amidst the debilitating impact of El Nino on agriculture, the number of employed persons in the country increased by 1.2% reaching 35.411 million in April 2010 from 34.997 million a year ago.

However, Lagman said the gains were offset by a large decline in agricultural employment particularly in Regions 2 (Cagayan Valley), 6 (Western Visayas), 8 (Eastern Visayas), 9 (Zamboanga Peninsula), 11 (Davao), 12 (Central Mindanao), and Caraga. He said employment in these regions fell due to the impact of the severe drought brought about by the El Nino phenomenon.

With the onset of the rainy season, Lagman expressed optimism that employment situation in agriculture will improve and is expected to mitigate the adverse effects of El Nino.

The Acting Secretary noted that the employment growth especially in the services and industry sectors was an indication of the 7.3% economic growth achieved during this year?s first quarter.

He said the services sector which expanded by 4.7% (+822,000) led the employment growth. The major contributors were wholesale and retail trade (+202,000); public administration and defense; compulsory social security (+163,000); and transport, storage, and communications (+113,000).

He added that employment in the industry sector likewise grew by a robust 7.8% (+396,000), a big improvement from last year?s modest growth of 1.7%. Employment gains were recorded highest in manufacturing (+221,000) followed by construction (+120,000), mining and quarrying (+46,000), and electricity, gas, and water (+9,000).

At the same time, the quality of employment also improved markedly as the number of persons in full-time employment rose by 9.5% (+1.892 million) while persons in part-time employment fell by 9.6% (-1.376 million). As a result, the mean hours of work increased from 39.8 to 41.2 over the period.

Commenting on the employment picture during the nine-year administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Lagman said that the annual averages of the quarterly LFS from 2001 to 2009 showed that the total employment generated during this nine-year period was over 8 million indicating that the Arroyo administration generated an average of 0.890 million jobs each year since 2001. This was double of the less than half a million jobs generated each year during the previous administrations.

Despite doubling the jobs generation efforts under the Arroyo administration, however, unemployment remains a problem that needs to be addressed, Lagman said. (DOLE-9/PIA9-BST) [top]

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