MANILA,  August 12, 2004
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s target of creating six to 10 million jobs over the next six years of her administration is highly realizable given the economy’s capacity to absorb more workers and generate employment.

Citing figures provided by the National Statistics Office (NSO), DOLE said that the economy generates an average of 800,000 new employment annually. "Hence, the six million job creation target of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration in the next six years is a conservative estimate of the economy’s capacity to generate employment," the DOLE said in a briefing paper submitted to the Office of the Press Secretary.

The labor agency also said that based on its Labor Force Survey (LFS) data covering the period 1998-2003, the labor force is projected to grow by an average of 3.12 per cent annually until 2010. With unemployment reduction target set at 11 per cent to seven per cent, the economy should be able to produce an average of 1.53 million new jobs every year, DOLE said.

"This translates to 9.2 million new employed persons, which is very close to the six to 10 million target of the present administration," the labor agency stressed,

The LFS data showed that employment continued to expand by 3.6 percent, translating to 1.1 million jobs yearly. The same survey revealed that the country’s labor force grew from 30.4 million in April last year to 31.52 million during the same month this year, or an improvement of 1.102 million during the 12-month period.

However, the growth of the labor force outpaced employment expansion at 5.4 percent or 1.8 million, pushing up the unemployment rate from 12.2 percent to 13.7 percent.

The DOLE also pointed out that the rise in the unemployment rate may also be due to high expectations of jobs to be generated by elections, "a normal trend during election years."

The agency also clarified that while job generation is not a function of the government but of the private sector, the government’s task is to create an environment that will attract new investments which in turn create jobs conducive to business growth.

The government has identified key strategies in the President’s 10-point development agenda, among them tripling of loans for small business and developing two million hectares as business and agriculture hub designed to generate at least five million new jobs.

Other strategies involved infrastructure projects such as construction of 3,000 classrooms annually, development of transportation networks, development of Clark and Subic as the best international service and logistics center in Asia, and the setting up of new centers of government, business and housing in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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