Unemployment figures ‘nothing to worry about’-A A +A
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
ALTHOUGH the unemployment and underemployment rates in Visayas were higher than 20 percent as of July, an economist said this should be viewed in a positive light as this indicates “efficiency” of businesses and shows a chance for “infant sectors” to flourish.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas- Department of Economic Statistics acting deputy director Fernando Silvoza said in an interview at the BSP Cebu regional office that with the robust economic growth of Central Visayas, the increase in unemployment and underemployment should not be seen as a “negative.”
Silvoza cited in his presentation on Development Indicators of Visayas during the BSP stakeholders awards ceremony yesterday that Central Visayas and the entire Visayas regions are experiencing growth. Out of the top 7,000 companies in the Philippines, 553 companies are from the Visayas and most of which are concentrated in region VII.
These companies have also reported 20.5 percent increase in sales.
Silvoza said the core industry in Central Visayas is the services sector.
“What is alarming is when there’s no robust growth, slow economic growth and rising unemployment rate. But in this case, you see growth moving up,” he said.
He said the double digit growth can be attributed to businesses becoming more efficient or more productive with the use of technology in their operations and having less dependence on manpower. This efficiency then paves way for businesses to open expansion programs in other sectors, generating jobs for the unemployed.
Silvoza said that businesses can work on infant sectors like agriculture and agro-industry.
“Moving the labor force to the other sectors means economic growth in the region is sustained in a more broader perspective not just on the core industries, but in more broad ways. And in the long run, you can see a more stable economic growth,” Silvoza said.
He said that the other positive indication of the situation is when the core industries of Central Visayas get affected by negative economic conditions, there are “backup” sectors for the region, making its economy more resilient.
In terms of skills of Central Visayas’ labor force , Silvoza said he sees no problem when they are re-allocated to the infant sectors as he believes that they are “competitive” and “well-educated.”
Silvoza also holds a positive view of the decline in bank deposit mobilization and bank loans in Central Visayas. Bank deposit mobilization in the region is at 0.7 percent compared to last year’s more than one percent, said Silvoza.
He said this can be traced to the region’s robust economic growth, where businesses are recapitalizing or rechanneling their earnings back to their operations instead of depositing it in the banks.
The low level of bank loans can also be attributed to businesses using more of their internal generated funds for their business expansions.
Another good side to it, Silvoza said, is that there is a “lot” of liquidity banks can offer to small and medium businesses, allowing SMEs to grow.
Silvoza also pointed out the “upbeat” business expectation survey results in Central Visayas.
Although data have shown that the region, together with Eastern Visayas, was less optimistic in the third quarter of this year, Silvoza maintains a positive outlook in the operating environment of the Central Visayas region.
“Everything is very robust in terms of economic growth,” Silvoza said about Central Visayas.
The inflation rate in the area as of August 2013 was pegged at 3.7 percent, which is lower than the 6.6 percent inflation rate last year.
Also yesterday, BSP awarded five of its stakeholders for Regions 7 and 8 or Eastern Visayas.
Cebu Mitsumi, Inc. was named this year’s outstanding respondent among large and medium firms; Kimwa Construction and Development Corp. was awarded the outstanding small firm respondent; the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics Region 7 and 8 were named the outstanding partner for the report on regional economic development; and the Bohol Coopreneurs Credit Surety Fund won the advocacy support award.
BSP holds yearly awards to its stakeholders for providing exemplary support to its statistical undertakings, information needs and advocacy programs.
The event is meant to “further strengthen the partnerships between the BSP and its stakeholders in information gathering and advocacy campaigns that will help the BSP carry out its mandate of maintaining price stability and promoting financial stability as well as ensuring an effective payments and settlements system in the country.”
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 02, 2013.