Government’s ‘new jobs’ claim assailed

Jun. 19, 2007

MANILA, Philippines — Over half of the new jobs that the Arroyo administration has been crowing about are low in quality and, contrary to the rosy picture being depicted by the government, merely reflect how dire the Philippines’s employment situation has become, according to Ibon Foundation, the independent think-tank.

Of the net increase in jobs of more than one million reported in the April 2007 Labor Force Survey (LFS), two-thirds are in unpaid family work (575,000) and in domestic household help (148,000), said Sonny Africa, head of Ibon’s research department.

These jobs, he said, are among the lowest-earning and are sometimes even unpaid labor.

Africa explained that “the sustained attack on the economy’s most productive sectors through the government’s economic globalization policies continued to erode domestic manufacturing, as shown by declining employment in the sector.” The manufacturing sector, he pointed out, even lost 105,000 jobs during the survey period.

Africa said that the majority of these new jobs represent workers unable to find jobs in the cities — unemployment in Metro Manila is 12.5 percent, the highest among all the regions — and are forced to return to the countryside and its backward agricultural production.

“The dire jobs situation, in which the government trumpets the creation of new jobs which are actually substandard even as nearly two out of every 10 employed workers continue to look for more work due to low wages, remains the greatest challenge for the Arroyo administration,” Africa said. (

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