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1-M jobs target surpassed but new workers cancel out gains

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

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Those who are available for work exceeded the number of new jobs created in 2011 by at least 746,000

EMPLOYMENT. Job seekers flock to a job fair. Photo by Purple Romero

MANILA, Philippines – The government surpassed its target to create a million jobs in 2011 but a higher number of Filipinos also entered the workforce last year, according to latest data from Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In a statement citing the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics’ 2011 situation report, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said the number of new jobs in the Philippines rose to 1.156 million in 2011. This exceeds the one-million-a-year jobs target and a 3.2% improvement compared to figures in 2010.

The new jobs created are added to the 2011 labor force of about 40 million. This pool of Filipinos, 15 years old and above, who are working or trying to look for work is supposed to include over 1.902 million Filipinos who entered or re-entered the labor market as of October 2011. 

The difference showed that the those who are available for work exceeded the number of new jobs created in 2011 by at least 746,000.

More dissatisfied workers

While the number of new jobs increased, DOLE said the number of underemployed Filipinos, who remain dissatisfied with their current jobs, also rose by 19.3% in 2011.

The National Statistical Coordination Board defines the underemployed as “employed persons who expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or in an additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.”

Baldoz said underemployment thus remained a “major concern.”

At the same time, however, the secretary noted the “positive” quality of employment in the Philippines. She said full-time employment rose by 6.3%, or 794,000 employed persons, while salary employment increased by 4.6% or 911,000 employed persons.

‘Positive’ employment

With these figures, Baldoz expressed confidence that employment in 2012 “will continue to be positive.”

In his State of the Nation Address in July 2011, President Benigno Aquino III led the government in bannering its gains in increasing employment. 

“Our foremost pledge to the Filipino people was to create more jobs, and we have delivered. In April 2010, the unemployment rate was at 8%; in April 2011, it was at 7.2%,” Aquino said.

The President noted that a number of Filipinos, who earned a temporary living from election-related jobs, got laid off after the 2010 presidential elections. “But despite all this, our results make our success evident: 1,400,000 jobs were created last year,” he said.

Aquino then made no mention of the labor force participation and underemployment rates that year.

Based on the National Statistics Office’s Labor Force Survey in July 2011, at least 982,000 new workers entered the labor force in 2010 while around 593,000 more workers joined the underemployed.

Baldoz said unemployment rate dropped to 7% in 2011 from 7.4% in 2010, while the DOLE data showed labor force participation rate rose to 64.6% in 2011 from 64.1% in 2010.


The jobs report is one of the traditional barometers of the country’s economic health.

Under Aquino, the Philippines’ economic growth in 2011 likely slowed down to between 3% and 5% from a robust 7% in 2010, an election year. The slower pace was attributed to delayed spending on crucial infastructure projects, as well as the economic weakness of western countries that are both trading partners and host to millions of Filipinos working overseas.

The Philippines is one of the biggest labor exporters in the world since its local economy could not absorb all those who are looking for work. –

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Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email