SWS: Unemployment hits record high

Shielo Mendoza
Yahoo! Southeast Asia Newsroom

At least 13.8 million adult Filipinos were unemployed in the first quarter of 2012, the latest Social Weather Stations survey showed.

This sets a record-high of a 34.4 percent unemployment rate.

SWS revealed that the unemployment rate as of March this year increased by 10 points from 24 percent, or about 9.7 million adult Filipinos, in December last year and even exceeded the previous record of 34.2 percent in February 2009.

Of the 34.4 percent unemployed, which included those who are 18 years old and above who are not working and are looking for work, 15 percent voluntarily left while 10 percent are laborers whose contracts were not renewed.

Moreover, six percent of the unemployed were comprised of Filipino adults who never worked before, two percent whose employers closed, and one percent who were laid off.

Jobless rate was relatively high among women and the youth, the survey revealed.

SWS showed that 43 percent of the female respondents were unemployed as compared to 27.6 percent male.
Also, 55.9 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 said they are not working and are looking for work while only 45.4 percent of those aged 25 to 34, 21.7 percent of those aged 35 to 44 and 30.8 percent of those aged 45 and above said so.

Majority of the respondents expressed pessimism in their work status as 33 percent said they think there would be no change in job availability in the next 12 months, 25 percent said there would even be fewer jobs while 26 percent said there will be more jobs available.

Responding to results of the SWS survey, Presidential Communications and Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma told BusinessWorld, where the survey was first published, that the government will proceed with its labor programs.

"We continue to exert greater efforts to generate more employment opportunities," Coloma said.