AGRICULTURAL SECTOR'S REBOUND TO CREATE 1.3 MILLION  JOBS - NEDA

MANILA, January 24, 2006
 (MALAYA) The National Economic and Development Authority expects the rebound in agricultural sector to create 1.3 million jobs this year.

A simulation done by NEDA showed that result to a lower unemployment rate of 7.1 percent this year from last year’s expected average of 7.7 percent.

This will translate to 2.52 million jobless from 2.68 million last year. This means some 150,000 unemployed people last year will find work during 2006, according to Dennis Arroyo, director for NEDA’s national planning and policy staff.

The agriculture sector is employing about a third of the country’s entire labor force, the biggest employer across sectors, according to National Statistics Office.

As such, government needs to create more jobs in the sector in order to keep up with the growing number of people joining in the labor force.

NEDA said the average employment for 2005 reached only 699,000, less than the low-end target of 1.03 million jobs as stated at the Medium Term Development Plan, the blueprint of the country’s economic growth for the next five years.

It said the 1.13 million employments generated in October failed to compensate for the less than one million employments generated in the months of January, April, and July. The surge in the country’s labor force was due to fast population growth, putting a strain on the government’s effort to create more jobs.

"Joblessness in 2005 was particularly severe in the agricultural sector because of the El Niño drought.," Augusto Santos, director general of NEDA, earlier said.

NEDA earlier said the government could produce more jobs in the agriculture sector, which accounts for a fifth of the country’s economy, by reducing the cost of rice, corn, sugar, and among other crops through greater productivity and putting up necessary infrastructure to bring the farm produce to the market.

The country’s so-called sunrise industries, like the call center jobs and other business process outsource firms, could also help in providing more jobs to the country, Santos said.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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