THE International Labour Organization (ILO) urged the Philippine government to put in place the needed protection to its workers to cushion the impact of the crisis.

In its annual Global Employment Trends report, the ILO said the regional unemployment rate is expected to remain steady this year.

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“In the Philippines, the unemployment rate in 2009 only increased slightly to 7.5 percent. However, it could have been worse without stimulus measures taken by the government, workers and employers,” said Director Linda Wirth of ILO Manila.

She added: “The report warns us of a W-shaped recovery. It is possible for the economy and employment to grow but the rate of growth is likely to slow or dip, so it is crucial to have job protection policies in place.”

The ILO report also stated that the number of workers in vulnerable employment in the South-East Asia Pacific region is estimated to have increased by up to 5 million since 2008 and regional unemployment rate rose by 5.6 percent in 2009.

A W-shaped recession, also called a “double dip” recession, means that an economy has undergone recession, then emerges from the recession for a short period of growth but quickly falls back into recession.

Labor Secretary Marianito Roque has said the economy is showing signs of improvement and adding a bright employment prospects this year particularly the Business Process Outsourcing industry (BPO).

But Wirth noted that the measures adopted by the government are less felt by the people saying “It could have been worse in 2009 without stimulus measures taken by the government, workers and employers.”

Among the programs implemented by the Department of Labor and Employment during the crisis were the financial and livelihood assistance, emergency employment, skills training, and jobs-fit program.

In 2009, ILO said the number of jobless worldwide reached 212 million and youth unemployment increased by 10.2 million, the highest since 1991. (MSN/Sunnex)