Discrepancy in Our Unemployment Statistics

Manila Bulletin, February 28, 2013 | Go to article overview

Discrepancy in Our Unemployment Statistics


There is discrepancy in the unemployment statistics between the government figures and that of the private agencies. This should be no problem provided they stick to their formats. What is important is the movement of these stats from one period to the other. Is employment improving or deteriorating? Some private survey agencies are reporting as high as 20% unemployment while the government figures are about 6%. Added to these are the underemployment figures which usually are double the figure of unemployment.

One problem is that the stats we use are for developed country application. On the other hand we are still heavily agricultural in our GDP. Agricultural especially where subsistence farming is included has cyclical variations that are more variable. Our employment figures have a special concern in that we have over ten million overseas employees. While our neighbours improved their GDP with exports of goods, we in turn had exports of manpower which complicates our unemployment statistics.

We do not have the unemployment problems of Europe, where as in Spain is almost 50% unemployment, but we have to worry about the 20% unemployment and the underemployment that we have. In an ideal situation every able bodied citizen that is willing to work will be able to get work within a reasonable time. With about 70% of our economy still dependent on agriculture we have to improve production of grain so that it does not occupy too much land which can be used for high-value crops. Investment in local manufacturing is saddled with problems competing with goods from China and the ASEAN with little or no barrier to protect them.

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