Opening address at the dissemination workshop on the results of the pilot provincial labor force survey

By Mr Lawrence Jeff Johnson, Director, ILO Country Office for the Philippines at the dissemination workshop on the results of the pilot provincial labor force survey, Makati City, Philippines, 29 January 2013

Statement | Makati City, Philippines | 29 January 2013
  • Administrator Ericta of the National Statistics Office,
  • Partners and representatives from the provinces of Antique and Agusan Del Sur,
  • Colleagues from the UN Country Team and the MDGF joint programme,
  • ILO Colleagues – Kee from the Decent Work Country Team and Phu of the ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
  • Ladies and gentlemen, magandang umaga sa inyong lahat (good morning to all of you)!
To respond to the global economic crisis and to achieve the objective as spelled out in the Global Jobs Pact, the Philippine Development Plan and the Philippine Labor and Employment Plan, the government and our social partners need access to targeted and timely labour market information and analysis that address both economic and social concerns.

During the course of my career, which all I’ll say is more than 25 years, I’ve been working with national, state, provincial and local government to strengthen labour market information and analysis. I began my career in the US Federal Government working with business and community throughout the US. During my tenure with the ILO I’ve worked on every continent with the exception of Antarctica.

I’ve seen that way too often, labour market information and analysis is taken for granted or just an afterthought once a crisis or challenge is already underway.

I began my career with the ILO over sixteen years ago with the goal of improving labour market information and analysis in order to help policy makers achieve the goal of decent and productive employment. While, in my view, there has been significant progress, much work still remains.

One of the global flagship reports for the ILO, which I was responsible for developing in my previous position, was launched again last week in time for the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The Global Employment Trends 2013 report indicated that labour markets remained a challenge for young people globally, but youth unemployment rates has shown some signs of decline in the region, specifically the Philippines and Indonesia.

The youth unemployment rate in the Philippines has ticked slightly downward registering 16.0 per cent in the second quarter of 2012, compared with 16.6 per cent in the same period of 2011 and 18.8 per cent in the same period of 2010.

Much as the news regarding youth unemployment is on the positive side, however, unemployment rates are not a good measure of an economy’s capacity, performance and well-being, particularly in a middle income country such as the Philippines.

One indicator, such as unemployment can’t paint a clear and focused picture. How many of you follow sports or even American Idol?

As with basketball, soccer or baseball, and as my daughters tell me as well with American Idol, we need more than one indicator to understand a player’s or singer’s performance.

As for the youth in the Philippines, more than 33 per cent of those youth employed were among the ranks of the vulnerably employed.

They are often forced to accept or create whatever work is available in order to survive.

Labour market information and analysis is required not just at the national level but also for provincial policy makers as well as business and labour leaders.

The Philippines is a regional and global leader in the collection and dissemination of national statistics, however, more support is needed to strengthen provincial estimation and dissemination as well as strengthening the analysis and linkages at all levels.

Under the MDG F joint programme on Alternatives to Migration: Decent Jobs for Filipino Youth, the ILO, in partnership with the National Statistics Office, conducted this pilot labour force survey in the provinces of Antique and Agusan del Sur in the context of generating estimates at the provincial level.

With this in mind, we are hopeful that the results of the survey and the analysis which will be presented today will serve as the basis for further crafting local employment policies and programmes that meet the real and relevant needs of the provinces.

With accurate, timely and regularly collected and disseminated statistics and analysis, the government will empower the people of the provinces and help empower the communities to set the path for economic growth which is inclusive, sustainable and greener.

Let me take this opportunity as well to thank Ruth and Roche of the MDG F joint programme on Alternatives to Migration: Decent Jobs for Filipino Youth for coordinating and organizing this workshop.

I wish you all a productive discussion throughout the day.

Thank you and Mabuhay!