Arroyo Creates More Jobs, All Right — But Most Are for Maids

Mar. 18, 2007

MANILA — The results of the January 2007 Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed that the number of employed Filipinos increased by 1.5 million to 33.5 million from the 32 million recorded in January 2006. But according to independent think-tank IBON Foundation, the figures are deceptive as the quality of jobs created still leaves much to be desired.

IBON research head Sonny Africa pointed out that there were four times more new jobs for maids than for factory workers, highlighting the failure of the Arroyo government to create regular and productive jobs through a genuine industrialization program.

According to Africa, as of January 2007, there were 309,000 domestic household help jobs created, as against only 74,000 manufacturing jobs.

Africa added that the low quality of jobs under the present administration was further underlined by high levels of underemployment. One out of five of those who had jobs, or nearly 22% of the employed, said they were seeking more work. Africa pointed out that the bulk of these were full-time workers who worked 40 hours or more, indicating how legislated minimum wages in the country fell far short of what was necessary for a decent standard of living.

Figures from the National Wages and Productivity Commission that as of January 2007 a family of six members in the National Capital Region needs at least P721 a day to meet its food and non-food needs. Yet the nominal daily minimum wage in Metro Manila is only P350, a gap of P371.

The quality of jobs generated under the Arroyo administration only shows that the country is suffering its worst ever jobs crisis, despite its claims that the economy is improving under its stewardship.

IBON Foundation, Inc. is an independent development institution established in 1978 that provides research, education, publications, information work and advocacy support on socioeconomic issues.

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