GOVT FORECASTS UNEMPLOYMENT FALLING FURTHER
MANILA, January 21, 2006, (BULLETIN) The government is optimistic that more people would be employed this year as the unemployment rate is expected to decline.
"Joblessness in 2005 was particularly severe in the agricultural sector because of the El Niño drought. But 2006 will not be an El Niño year, so farm output should be back to normal," said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Augusto Santos.
Jobs would be created by the country’s sunrise industries. Call center jobs are seen to increase by 60 percent in 2006.
There is also a real estate boom fuelled by both Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) inflows and call centers demanding office space. "For the first three quarters of last year, the average growth in real estate was 13.4 percent. That spending should stir private construction," Santos added.
He stressed that tourism, on the other hand, is surging and is expected to generate jobs due to its very nature as a service-intensive sector.
"Our tourist arrivals are at an all-time high, and we project three million visitors in 2006," he said. Mining is on the rise as well. Investments in mining equipment rose by 177 percent in the second quarter of 2005. Santos said that the government has embarked on vital fiscal reforms to generate the resources needed to fuel job growth over the medium term.
"This year, fully 30 percent of the incremental revenue from Expanded Value-Added Tax (E-VAT) will be used for capital spending. We have also scheduled massive infrastructure projects in 2006, promoting growth in north and south of Metro Manila."
"This would provide employment in the construction sector, while the government channels much funding support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). These SMEs are normally labor-intensive, thus adding to the job total," said Santos.
The drop in exports last year, he explained, was due to the downturn in the global electronics cycle. But according to the Semiconductors Industry Association in the United States, 2006 marks an upturn. "Thus, we should see the recovery of the export sector," he said. Printer Friendly Version
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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