Unemployment in the Philippines Rises

The unemployment rate in the Philippines  increased to 7.3 percent in July 2013 from 7 percent in the same period last year according to a  yahoo.news philippines report from the NSO, National Statistics Office.

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However, a  Social Weather Stations, SWS, March survey showed  the unemployment rate in the country increased to 25.4 percent from 24.6 percent in December 2012. This is equivalent to about 11.1 million jobless Filipinos.  (Source: Sun Star)

The SWS was established in August 1985 as a private non-stock, nonprofit social research institution.  Quite a discrepancy in their figures versus the NSO, the government's mouthpiece.

While the economy is being boosted by call centers and remittances from OFW's, which amounts to about 10 percent of the gross domestic product, the Philippine's poverty level hasn’t decreased since 2006. The SWS has supported that finding in recent surveys but the present administration of the Philippines believes that the SWS surveys are flawed. Marjorie, Shina, Sharwin and JalAmiel

Sister-in-law Marjorie, far left, has spent two years working in Saudi Arabia and over two years working in Kuwait as a domestic helper. We care for her two children, niece Shaina and nephew, Sharwen, seated next to their mother. Little JalAmiel, another niece, is seated next to her cousins. Marjorie recently renewed her employment contract for another two years in Kuwait. 

The Philippines attracts the least foreign direct investment in Southeast Asia, according to the World Bank. That’s in part because contract disputes and regulatory reversals in the past led companies, including Frankfurt, Germany-based Fraport AG, to leave the country.

Fraport stopped work on an almost-completed airport terminal building in 2002 and later sought compensation after having its contract nullified by the Philippine Supreme Court.

Presiding over a country with one of the youngest populations in the world, the government needs to finds jobs not just for the current unemployed but also for the growing ranks of teenagers entering the workforce. The Philippine labor pool will expand by almost 18 million, or 31 percent, to 75 million by 2020 compared with 2010, Bank of America Corp. projected in April last year.

Breaking up families  with the continual reliance on overseas Filipino workers is not the solution. My own asawa worked for years as a domestic helper and caretaker in Singapore and Taiwan. In Taiwan she worked two years straight without one day off, a direct violation of her contract. But if she would have complained, her employers would have replaced her with another Filipino faster than a jeepney driver on shabu. Jeepney

Almost half of all jobless Filipinos are between the ages of 15 and 24, according to the government statistics office. The biggest area of employment remains agriculture and fishing,  which provides work for 30.4 million people, or almost a third of the population. About 8 percent work in manufacturing. (Source: bloomberg.com)

The Philippines unemployment rate is the worst in Southeast Asia and more than double the regional average.

So please, if you are reading this and you are a foreigner, be advised that the majority of expats would recommend you have a fixed monthly income, such as a pension, before moving or retiring to the Philippines. If the average Filipino has difficulty in finding work, what makes you think you would fare better?  

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