1. In October 2008, the unemployment rate rose to 6.8 percent from 6.3 percent a year ago. In terms of workers, the unemployed increased by 279 thousand to 2.525 million.
2. However the number of employed persons increased by 861 thousand in October 2008 compared to a year before. [And last July 2008, the increase was 1.279 million].
The Malacanang target of a million jobs was essentially reached during the second semester of 2008. And its spinmeisters kept mum on this or missed it altogether?
3. The increases in the following sectors accumulated to the over 850 thousand mark:
• Wholesale and retail trade, repair shops – 352 thousand
• Construction (government-primed?) – 141 thousand
• Public administration and defense, compulsory social security (emergency employment – street sweeping?)– 122 thousand
• Real estate, renting and business activities (call centers) – 103 thousand
• Agriculture, hunting and forestry (good weather?)– 93 thousand
4. However there was a decrease of 146 thousand in manufacturing.
5. Ciel Habito in his 28 December 2008 Philippine Daily Inquirer column wrote:
Ever notice how our economy has been behaving strangely lately? The latest strange (but welcome) behavior is how job generation based on the last two quarterly Labor Force Surveys (July and October 2008 ) appeared healthy even in the face of the world economic slowdown that has taken a definite toll on our economy.
6. My take: declining productivity, poor quality of jobs generated or stimulated by pump priming with little or no inter-industry linkages, and the usual culprit – low level of investments. The economists would be in a better position to see through these disturbing trends.
Yes, even with a million jobs created, the unemployment rate can increase… and GDP growth can slow down …
Source of data – Labor Force Surveys conducted by the National Statistics Office quarterly.