Labor department’s ‘full employment’ claim slammed

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014


A MILITANT labor group questioned the veracity of reports that came out Tuesday afternoon from the labor department claiming that northern Mindanao is “in a state of full employment.”

The Kilusang Mayo Uno-Northern Mindanao (KMU-10) is urging the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole-10) to check its facts after it reported a stability of employment in the region.

"I don't believe that northern Mindanao is in a state of full employment.
We have an increasing [number of] job opportunities but most of them are contractual only. There's no assurance to it," Wildon Barros Sr., KMU-10 chairperson, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro.

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Highest labor participation rate

In the recent report of the Philippine Statistics Authority in the region (PSA-10) and Dole-10 obtained by this paper, northern Mindanao has the highest labor force participation rate (LFPR) in the Philippines as of April 2014 with three million people.

This rate is the proportion of the population ages 15 and above that is capable to render labor for the production of goods and services.

As of April this year, out of the three million, 2,024,000 are employed, 113,000 are unemployed and 419,000 are underemployed.

The employment figure in the region is up higher than year 2013's 1,941,000 for the same period.

While the unemployment of 2014 of the same period dropped from 114,000 and the underemployment from 582,000.

In simplest terms, in every 20 fifteen-year-olds and above in the region, one person is unemployed, five are underemployed and 14 are employed.

According to Dole-10 assistant regional director Rodrigo Deloso, this data shows that the region is “in a state of full employment.”

“Although there's unemployment, we can still say we are in a state of full employment since we are around the 95 percent employment rate,” he told this paper in an interview.

But Barros called the Dole-10 report as “dubious” because of the apparent condition of Filipinos.

"Look at our streets, you can see a lot of bystanders doing nothing. Their [Dole and PSA] survey is based only on the employed with three-month contract," he said.

Mismatch

Dole-10 still believed that the region can accommodate more job opportunities for qualified applicants.

The labor department's regional statistician Bernie Salinas told this paper Tuesday morning of northern Mindanao's capacity to give unemployed citizens in the region available vocation.

However, Salinas underscored the possible reasons why these vacancies remained unoccupied.

"We have also considerations. The qualification of applicants is an important thing to look at since there are applicants who are incompatible with the job. We call it ‘mismatch.’ Salary is one thing to which the applicant does not sit well. Another is when the available job means the applicant has to live in distance from his family," he added.

Salinas maintained that graduates “tend to flock to cities” like Cagayan de Oro and Iligan while leaving other opportunities in their home towns.

Meanwhile, with the growing number of Filipinos going abroad, Salinas said they would rather go abroad because of the meager pay in the country.

"Usually, the primary reason why people want to go abroad is due to foreign nations offering bigger pay than us. We can't stop them if they want to look for greener pasture," he said.

Jonald, 30, a family driver in the city is paid P4,000 a month, below the approved P306 per day salary, said his wage could no longer sustain for his growing family so decided to join the exodus of Filipinos abroad and try his luck.

"As much as I want to stay with my family here, my salary is too small and I may not be able to provide them well," he said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority central office documented almost three million unemployed Filipinos as of April 2014.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 25, 2014.

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