Press Release
September 20, 2018

Nearly half of unemployed are youth

Senator Sonny Angara has urged the government to intensify its jobs programs that will help Filipinos, especially the youth, land high-paying jobs amid high youth unemployment and underemployment rates in the country.

Based on the July 2018 labor force survey, 1.04 million or almost half of the 2.32 million unemployed Filipinos are youth aged 15 to 24.

The survey showed that many of the unemployed were still awaiting results of their previous job application, waiting for rehire or job recall, and were tired or they believed that there is no more work available.

While unemployment rate has decreased from 5.6% in July last year to 5.4% this year, underemployment has increased from 16.3% to 17.2%.

Such higher underemployment rate means that more employed Filipinos are still looking for more work or longer working hours because they do not have regular full-time jobs that are high-paying, or because they are experiencing job mismatch.

"The figures suggest that: 1) the country's unemployment challenge is primarily a youth phenomenon, and 2) the quality of jobs in the Philippines is deteriorating," said the lawmaker who is a known advocate of labor reforms.

"The government should intensify its jobs programs which target the youth. We commend the decrease in unemployment but more than that, we should look at the incomes. The country should be generating higher paying jobs," added Angara, vice chairman of the finance committee, who is tasked to sponsor and defend the budget of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

Among the employment facilitation programs of DOLE are the Public Employment Service Office (PESO), the Special Program for Employment of Students (SPES), and the JobStart Program--all of which are mandated by laws sponsored by Angara when he was chairman of the labor committee.

According to the data from DOLE, in 2017 alone, 6.5 million individuals were provided with labor market information and referred for job placement through PESO; almost 200,000 youth were provided with temporary employment under SPES; and, nearly 8,000 youth were provided with life skills training under JobStart.

The senator has assured that such programs will be given sufficient funding to enable DOLE to meet or even exceed its target beneficiaries for next year.

DOLE Bureau of Local Employment Director Nikki Tutay said the number of unemployed youth dropped from 1.5 million in 2010 to 1.1 million in 2018 because of the SPES and JobStart programs.

"We ushered the passage of laws strengthening PESO and SPES, and institutionalizing JobStart primarily to solve our unemployment problems and to help the youth land a job faster. Kahit iyong mga college graduate kasi ay inaabot ng dalawang taon bago makakuha ng trabaho. Paano pa kaya yung mga hindi nakapagtapos.

"Pero bukod sa tulungan silang magka-trabaho, dapat ay siguruhin din na sapat ang kanilang kita. Parang sa edukayon--mas malawak na ang access ngayon dahil libre na ang tuition, pero dapat ay de-kalidad pa din ang pagtuturo," Angara said.

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