Zamboanga Peninsula has logged a 97.4 percent employment rate for the past four months this year, the region’s Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE-9) said Thursday. Albert Gutib, DOLE-9 director, said the prevailing employment rate is higher by 2.4 percent compared to the same period last year at 95 percent, based on the labor force survey as of last month. In terms of individual employment, over 1.6 million have been employed from January to April this year, higher than the 1.4 million recorded in the same period in 2022. ‘The reopening of the economy of private businesses due to the easing of (pandemic restrictions is the major contributory factor to the increase of employment rate,’ Gutib said. Another contributory factor, he said, was the assistance extended by the government in terms of emergency employment and livelihood assistance on the part of DOLE. Likewise, he said the implementation of infrastructure projects by the local government units also contributed to the employment rate increase. He noted that the unemployment rate decreased to 2.6 or 44,159 this year from 5.0 percent or 77,610 in 2022. For the past four months, however, he said that the underemployment rate has increased to 19.8 from 18.7 percent for the same period last year. Underemployment refers to a situation in which individuals are forced to work in low-paying or low-skill jobs. Meanwhile, Gutib said the possibility of a new wage order for the Zamboanga Peninsula may be remote at this time of the year, considering the existing wage order has not yet reached its one-year validity. Gutib said that under the guidelines a wage order cannot be changed or altered within one year. ‘The existing wage order was approved on June 25, 2022, and was implemented in two tranches. The last or second of which was implemented last December 2022,’ he said.
Source: Philippines News Agency