JOBLESS RATE HITS 11% (FROM 10.6% LAST YEAR) IN JANUARY

MANILA, March 17, 2004 (STAR) By Rica D. Delfinado - The nationwide unemployment rate rose to 11 percent in January this year from 10.6 percent in the same period last year, underscoring the fact that the economy is failing to create enough jobs for its rapidly growing population.

Based on a report from the National Statistics Office (NSO), the latest unemployment rate was also up from 10.1 percent recorded in October last year, but off a recent peak of 12.7 percent in July.

In real terms, the number of jobless Filipinos swelled to 3.9 million in January from 3.56 million a year ago. The total estimated labor force stood at 35.1 million.

Analysts said slow economic growth exacerbated by rising political concerns largely contributed to the declining job opportunities in the country.

The government statistics office said that of the 3.9 million unemployed in January, about 2.7 million or more than 70 percent did not bother looking for work in the belief that none was available.

Some five to seven million Filipinos out of a population of 80 million work abroad.

The National Capital Region recorded the highest unemployment rate at 16.9 percent as a result of the influx of people from the provinces to seek employment particularly in Metro Manila.

Other regions which exhibited a double-digit unemployment rate include the Calabarzon at 13.7 percent; Central Visayas at 12.4 percent; Central Luzon at 12.6 percent; and Ilocos at 11.9 percent.

The employment rate, on the other hand, dropped to 89 percent in January from 89.4 percent a year ago. This means that the number of economically productive Filipinos stood at 31.522 million in January from 30.119 million a year ago.

Agriculture accounted for 11.1 million jobs, the industry sector employed five million while the services sector accounted for 15.3 million.

The NSO also reported that aside from the 35.421 million people who were employed, some 5.52 million workers desire more hours of work.

The NSO reports the labor data every three months.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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