Many jobless despite GDP growth – economist

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MANILA, May 1, 2014 – While the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) may skyrocket by up to 7.2 percent, millions of Filipinos remain unemployed, leaving an economist to coin the term “jobless growth” to describe this economic paradox.

“We are experiencing “jobless growth,” Dr. Rene Ofreneo, former dean of UP  School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) puts it.

Despite a much-touted increase in GDP under the Aquino administration, experts and labor groups say the said development has yet to be “felt.”

According to Kilusang Mayo Uno chairman Elmer Labog, who spoke at the weekly ‘Tapatan sa Aristocrat’ media forum together with other economic experts, the GDP growth booty seems to be limited to an elite few.

Economic experts and labor leaders discuss the country’s “jobless growth” at the weekly ‘Tapatan sa Aristocrat media forum’ on April 28, 2014. (Photo: Raymond Bandril)

“The 7.2 growth that they are talking about is not being felt at the bottom. It looks like it’s only for those high up in society, he said in the vernacular.

Ofreneo also explained that the country is experiencing “extensive precarious labor”: unstable, uncertain, unprotected and unstandard kinds of work. He added that the country’s formal economy serves as a mere “coping mechanism.”

“Just to get a job, [people] will get into anything,” he added. Ofreneo emphasized the need to create “decent jobs to have a decent economy.”

Federation of Free Workers president Atty. Sonny Matula, on the other hand, noted that the GDP contribution of the agriculture sector, from where majority of the country’s work force comes from, has been decreasing.

“[This] mean(s) the GDP that should be providing more jobs to most of our people is now decreasing,” Matula explained, noting that there is something “wrong” with the policy of the government. (Chrixy Paguirigan)

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