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Swelling of the informal sector, employment data suggest

The latest employment data point to a possible expansion of the informal sector as quality jobs remain unavailable, according to local groups.

In an email to BusinessMirror, former Dean of the School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) and President of the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) Rene E. Ofreneo said this was possible given that the unemployment is down but underemployment is on the rise.

Ofreneo said that while the elections provided Filipinos with job opportunities, many of those jobs were temporary. This indicates that “inadequate employment” opportunities in the Philippines will continue.

“The reality is that there is a need for a broader concept of ‘inadequate employment’ — inadequate in terms of hours of work, inadequate in terms of earnings or expected income, inadequate in terms of skill match- jobs, etc. election fever, many Filipinos were able to get extra jobs thanks to wealthy politicians. But most jobs are short-term,” Ofreneo said.

“If unemployment does not increase, it means that jobs in the informal sector continue to increase. Informal jobs (are) those who belong to the category of ‘with jobs’ but inadequate,” he added.

Ibon’s point of view

Ibon Foundation Inc. also highlighted the problem of growing informality in the economy. He said many Filipinos continue to “get by” with whatever work is available, even if it is “precarious, irregular and not decent”.

By category of workers, Ibon said, the decline in the number of employees is concerning because it means more informal jobs, the group said.

The number of salaried and salaried workers fell by 469,000 to 28.2 million in May 2022, from 28.7 million in April 2022. The declines were mainly for those working in government or state-owned companies (by 281,000) and private establishments (by 179,000).

Another indication of growing informality among employed people is the growing number of self-employed and unpaid family workers.

He noted that the number of self-employed without any paid employees increased by 569,000 to 13.2 million from 12.6 million. Unpaid family workers increased by 542,000 to 3.8 million from 3.2 million.

“The new administration’s plan to simply increase ’employability’ through education, training and skills development is not enough. Boldly reforming the economy starting with boosting the country’s own productive sectors and not large, for-profit foreign companies will create stable jobs, decent incomes, higher productivity and a truly more vibrant economy, the group said. , Ibon said.

More Filipinos are also finding themselves in part-time jobs, the group said. By hours worked, the number of those who worked less than 40 hours increased by 439,000 to 16.7 million in May 2022 from 16.3 million in April 2022.

Ibon said that since February the number of part-time workers has increased by a monthly average of 922,000.

Additionally, Ibon said full-time workers or those working 40+ hours fell by 6,000 while those “with a job, not at work” rose by 18,000.

“The country’s economic instability will only aggravate the jobs crisis. Government inaction and the delivery of real economic stimulus through cash assistance to poor households, wage subsidies and support for small businesses and producers amplifies the effects of a weakening economy. economy,” Ibon said.

On Thursday, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that 2.93 million Filipinos were unemployed while 6.67 million were underemployed in May.

The PSA noted that this translated to an unemployment rate of 6% and an underemployment rate of 14.5% in May 2022. In May last year, unemployment was 7.7% and the 12.3% underemployment.

PSA data showed that a total of 4.52 million Filipinos were visibly underemployed and 2.144 million, invisibly underemployed.

The number of Filipinos considered invisibly underemployed increased by 620,000 between May 2021 and May 2022; while visibly underemployed workers increased by 557,000 over the 12-month period.

Underemployed people are employed people who have expressed a desire to work extra hours in their current job or to have an additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.

Invisible underemployment refers to underemployed people who work at least 40 hours per week, while visible underemployment refers to underemployed people who work less than 40 hours per week.

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