EMPLOYMENT in the country grew at a much slower pace than the gross domestic product (GDP).

This is one of the findings in the June 2010 LABSTAT Updates released by the Department of Labor and Employment, which presented data on key economic and employment indicators from 1998-2009.

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Employment was volatile in those years, following “a boom and bust pattern,” and its movement “over time was not in sync with the growth in GDP.”

GDP, which measures a country’s overall economic performance, refers to the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during a specific period.

The report attributed the volatility in employment to the effect of extreme weather disturbances, like dry spells and destructive typhoons, which hurt jobs in agriculture.

The agriculture sector plays an important role in the country’s labor market as it accounts for 35 to 38 percent of the country’s employed workforce.

But natural calamities wreaked havoc on the agriculture sector in 2000, 2003, 2005 and 2009.

The data series also showed that, in times of economic slowdown, part-time employment often expanded, while full-time employment declined.

From 2008 to 2009, employment grew by 2.9 percent, despite the slowdown in GDP growth to 1.1 percent. During this period, part-time employment grew by 8.4 percent, while full-time employment dropped by -0.5 percent.

Quality

“This suggests that while the quantity of employment may continue to expand in times of economic downturn, it is the quality of employment that actually suffers, because people will continue to work or accept part-time jobs with lower pay to cope with the difficult situation,” the report said.

Another finding of the report is that unemployment rate showed negligible changes over the period 1998-2010.

Unemployment rate stayed at little above 7.0 percent from 2007 to 2009.

“The absence of a noticeable movement in the unemployment data series in comparison with the observed trend in GDP and employment suggests that unemployment as an indicator is less sensitive to the developments in the economy and labor market,” added the report.

The report said measuring unemployment, despite the fact it’s a vital social concern, is “less relevant to a developing country like the Philippines, where self-employed workers and unpaid family workers accounted for a considerable proportion of the employed workforce.” (RSB)