Job seepage

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By Godofredo M. Roperos

Politics also

Thursday, February 27, 2014

ONLY a few days ago, there was this revelation from the National Economic Development Authority (Neda) that despite the somehow commendable economic performance of the Philippines in the past two years, the gains has not improved the living conditions of our people. Which means that, based on the perception by critical observers, there have not been any positive change.

It is said that over the next four years, the country would have to generate something like 14.6 million jobs for the ten million job seekers, according to a study by the World Bank Philippine Office (WBPO).

The office’s senior country economist averred that this nation faces an enormous job challenge. A good job means one that raises real wages and brings people out of poverty.


Some ten million jobs need to be provided for those who are either unemployed or are underemployed, as well as for the over a million labor force that would enter the job market.

On the other hand, the problem about the currency exchange rate would also be at our economic door knocking and seeking attention. It is said that the “balance of our economy and the robust business process outsourcing (BPO) among the factors that will push the economic growth in the country this year.”

The Capital Market Development Committee and First Metro Investment Corp.(FMIC) of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) maintains that a favorable rate on both sides is essential.

The committee’s co-chair said that a weak peso would favor BPO, tourism, and the exports industry while a strong currency would benefit commodity traders and helps government “pull the shortage in revenue.” The FMIC head pointed to P45 as the threshold exchange rate “where the BPOs, call center (and) OFWs are happy.” At the same time, importers, even the government, oil traders and oil importers would be quite well satisfied.

When the WBPO senior country economist presented his Philippine Development Report (PDR) 2013 before the “Regional Dialogue on Creating More and Better Jobs” at the University of San Carlos, he said that only a fourth of the potential entrants to the labor force managed to get good jobs and that slightly less than half of the number or 500,000 were college graduates. Only 240,000 were absorbed to the formal labor sector.

Note that even by 2015, some 12.4 million people will still be unemployed, underemployed or would have no work in the informal sector where moving up the job ladder is difficult.

The report from the WBPO notes, however, that our country has a wide range of assets to propel its development but has not lived up to its potential. It pointed to the country’s historically weak economic growth record as one of the mean reasons for the subpar performance.

On the whole, however, there is still opportunity for growth.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 27, 2014.


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