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04/09/2013: DOLE optimistic of more high-quality jobs in growing economy

From the Department of Labor and Employment

Secretary Labor and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said she is optimistic for more high-quality jobs under a regime of sustained economic growth.

Baldoz expressed this observation after the Philippine economy accelerated in the second quarter of 2013, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing by 7.5 percent from the 6.3 percent recorded GDP growth in the same period of 2012.

The second quarter of 2013 is the fourth consecutive quarter under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III during which the economy had GDP had grown by more than 7 percent. GDP growth in the first quarter was 7.6 percent, up from 6.4 percent in the first quarter in 2012.

Baldoz said the official employment data of the National Statistics Office partly boost her optimism for higher quality jobs in an atmosphere where the local economy is growing rapidly despite a weak global economy.

“The results of the April 2013 Labor Force Survey of the NSO points to a considerably improving overall quality of employment, with persons in full-time employment growing by 15.3 percent, or 3.194 million, and persons in part-time employment decreasing by 18.9 percent, or 3.063 million,” said Baldoz.

“The increase in the number of persons in full-time employment in the April 2013 LFS survey rode on the back of the increase recorded in the January 2013 LFS survey, where 1.515 million, or 6.5 percent, were added to the number of full-time employed persons. This means regular, full-time employment can be sustained,” Baldoz added.

Baldoz also pointed out that the GDP growth of 10.3 percent in the industry sector, which overtook the 7.4 percent growth in services, is an indicator of a more stable, long-term avenue for employment generation.

“We have noted a rapid growth in capital formation. We know for a fact that industry, such as manufacturing, has the ability to generate higher-quality and more permanent employment. Our challenge is to be able to respond to industry’s demand for more skilled workers in the near- and long-term,” Baldoz observed.

The key, according to Baldoz, is to continually upgrade workers’ skills and qualifications and to intensify promotion of harmonious labor-management relations at the plant-level to foster cooperative labor-employer relations.

She said that one of the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) strategies to promote employment is to intensify implementation of the Training for Work Scholarship Program in the Key Employment Generators (KEGS), namely, tourism; agriculture/fisheries/ agri-busines; information and communications technology/business process management (ICT-BPM); electronics; automotive; general infrastructure/construction/housing; manufacturing; and logistics.

“For 2014, we have increased the budget for the TWSP to P1.4 billion from P563 million in 2013 to be able to upgrade the skills of some 186,667 workers across all these KEGs. We also target 159,000 apprentices under our apprenticeship program. For our other technical-vocational education and training program, we target 904,000 skills to be assessed and certified next year,” Baldoz explained.

The DOLE, through the OWWA, also aims to increase the number of its scholarship grants to 4,917 grantees in 2014, while the Bureau of Labor Relations intends to expand coverage of its Workers’ Organization Development Program training and educational grants to union members with focus on hard-to-fill jobs.

Meanwhile, Baldoz said the DOLE’s Bureau of Local Employment continues to promote among employers to post their job vacancies to the Phil-JobNet, the government’s online job search and job matching facility.

“The Phil-JobNet, because of the DOLE’s strong focus on advocacy, has recorded tremendous increase in job vacancies posted in recent months, topping a record of 268,278 vacancies in January before tapering off to 98,878 in July.

Baldoz also said the DOLE continues to strengthen Labor Market Information delivery and career guidance advocacy as part of its employment facilitation services.