MANILA, December 14, 2003  (STAR) The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reported yesterday that 1.273 million new jobs were generated as of October this year, representing a 4.2 percent increase in employment levels.

The service sector generated the largest number of new jobs at 633,000, followed by the agriculture, fishery and forestry sectors with 384,000 new jobs, and the industry sector with 272,000, according to results of the latest Labor Force Survey conducted by DOLE.

DOLE attributed the increase in employment levels to a 4.4 percent growth in the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter, which it said was higher than expected.

The GDP is the local output of the country’s economy. Growth of the GDP could mean an increase in the output of various businesses, the expansion of existing businesses or the establishment of new ones — creating the demand for more workers.

"The employment performance is expected to remain buoyant until the final half of 2004, given the improved performance of the agricultural sector and the steadfast growth in personal consumption," DOLE said in a statement coursed through Malacañang.

It added that the increased economic activity prior to the May 2004 elections and the continued rise in job opportunities abroad will continue to boost employment.

DOLE said it expects that the government’s efforts to provide more jobs will contribute to the continued improvement of the country’s employment performance.

Some of the government’s programs to generate employment include the intensified implementation of the Kabuhayan program, job matching through the Public Employment Service Office, and strengthened Poverty-Free Zones programs in every region to ensure the steady increase in employment.

The quality of employment also improved during this period since more people found full-time jobs, according to DOLE.

"Persons in full-time work rose by 7.9 percent, additional 1.471 million, while (the number of) persons in part-time employment declined by 1.4 percent or 188,000. Moreover, wage and salary employment also grew by 10 percent or (more than) one million," the agency said.

DOLE noted that the country’s labor force also expanded by 4.2 percent to reach 36.078 million workers.

The unemployment rate, however, declined by a "modest" 0.1 percent from 10.2 percent in October last year.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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