Think tank emphasizes the need for stronger local agriculture and industry due to loss of 1.4 million jobs

Research Group Expresses Concern Over Decline in Employed Individuals and Labor Force Participants in the Philippines

A research group, the IBON Foundation, has expressed concern over the decline in employed individuals and labor force participants in the Philippines over the past year. This decline is seen as a sign of a discouraged Filipino working class.

According to the latest Labor Force Survey from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there has been a decrease of 1.41 million employed individuals, dropping from 47.35 million in January 2023 to only 45.94 million in January 2024. The labor force also contracted by 1.6 million during the same period, from 49.73 million to 48.09 million. Additionally, there was an increase in the number of individuals classified as “not in the labor force” by 3.2 million, totaling around 30.6 million.

The economic think tank stated that to address the jobs crisis and create gainful employment, the government should prioritize the development of domestic agriculture and Filipino industries instead of focusing on attracting foreign investors.

IBON also noted that a significant number of job losses were in informal work, with self-employed individuals decreasing by one million to 11.8 million and unpaid family workers falling by 1.7 million to 2.1 million.

While the number of unemployed decreased by 228,000 to 2.2 million, the researchers highlighted that this decrease could be attributed to unemployed Filipinos leaving the labor force and no longer being officially counted as unemployed.

Underemployed individuals decreased by 260,000 to 6.4 million. However, comparing the data from December 2023 to January 2024, both the number of unemployed individuals and the unemployment rate increased.

IBON also pointed out a decrease in employment in the manufacturing sector by 151,000 to 3.5 million. The researchers emphasized the importance of supporting domestic agriculture and industries to create sustainable and decent employment for Filipinos, rather than relying solely on imports and foreign investments.

The rise in unemployment and underemployment from December to January coincided with an increase in prices of goods and a 15-year high in rice inflation. This comes as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. promised to lower the cost of rice to P20 per kilo.

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