By Azer Parrocha
MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Thursday welcomed a report showing that the country’s employment rate is slowly getting back to the 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that the country’s employment rate accelerated to 95.2 percent, which translates to an additional 4.1 million employed persons, on account of employment gains in the services and agriculture sectors in January 2023.
This brings total employment to 47.4 million from 43.3 million in January 2022.
The labor force participation rate rebounded to 64.5 percent, equivalent to 49.7 million Filipinos in the labor force, of which 20.6 million are women.
“Padami nang padami ang nagkakaroon ng magandang trabaho (More and more people are getting good jobs)!:” Marcos said in his official Facebook page and Twitter account.
“Bumaba pa lalo ang ating unemployment at underemployment rate at tumaas naman sa 95.2 percent ang ating employment rate mula sa 93.6 percent noong Enero 2022. Ibig sabihin, 4.1 milyong Pilipino ang nadagdag sa ating labor force (Our unemployment and underemployment rates decreased even more and our employment rate increased to 95.2 percent from 93.6 percent in January 2022. That means, 4.1 million Filipinos have been added to our labor force),” he added.
Marcos vowed that the government would continue to pursue projects and programs meant to lift Filipinos out of poverty,
“Tayo’y magpupursigi hanggang sa tuluyan na nating mawakasan ang kahirapan (We will persevere until we finally end poverty)!” he said.
In a separate interview, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the improved employment situation can be attributed to the reopening of businesses after pandemic lockdowns were eased.
“Remember that in January 2022, we have not yet fully opened as many of the businesses were still only partially opened and so the further opening of the economy came in during this period from January 2022 to January 2023 is largely responsible for that improvement in the employment situation,” Balisacan told Palace reporters.
He likewise expressed confidence that the administration’s efforts to lure more investments in the country would help generate more jobs.
“Of course, I also would like to think that it has been seven months since the new administration came in and I think that has more or less sent a signal that business environment has improved because the President has been very clear that he is open to business. He’s opening up the Philippine economy to business including foreign investment,” he added.
The Marcos administration’s Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 is expected to “reinvigorate job creation, accelerate poverty reduction by steering the economy back on the high growth path and effect economic transformation.”
Under the PDP 2023-2028, the government aims to turn the Philippines into an upper, middle-income country by the year 2025. (PNA)