SWS survey: APEC will worsen joblessness

November 10, 2015


The recent SWS joblessness survey reminds us that APEC has failed to deliver on its promise of creating more jobs and promoting decent jobs. The survey, released more than one week before the country hosts the APEC Summit for the second time, shows that APEC has in fact worsened unemployment and the quality of jobs in the country.

When the country first hosted the APEC Summit in 1996, the promise was more jobs and more decent jobs for Filipinos under “Philippines 2000.” Now, the country is suffering from record-breaking levels of unemployment. Now, temporary jobs are more prevalent, wages are lower, contractual employment is more widespread, and fewer workers are unionized and covered by Collective Bargaining Agreements than before.

As long as the government refuses to implement genuine land reform and national industrialization, unemployment will continue to worsen and the quality of jobs will continue to deteriorate. The country’s economy will continue to be controlled by big foreign and local capitalists who have no interest in achieving full employment and in upholding workers’ rights to living wages, regular employment, and unionization.


The SWS tells us that joblessness increased from 22.9 percent in September 2014 to 23.7 percent in September 2015. It tells us that this is the highest unemployment rate for the year and amounts to 10.5 million jobless adults.

It also tells us that average joblessness has on the whole increased under the presidency of Noynoy Aquino: 22.5 percent in 2010, 23.6 percent in 2011, 28.8 percent in 2012, 25.2 percent in 2013 and 25.4 percent in 2014.

In a May 2015 study, independent think-tank Ibon Foundation claims that the country’s production sectors (agriculture, manufacturing, construction, and mining and quarrying) decreased in proportion to the GDP from 60 percent in the 1970s before globalization to a mere 39 percent in 2010-2014.

This certainly has a correlation with the decrease in jobs being generated by the economy: 2.7 percent (1960s), 4.1 percent (1970s), 2.8 percent (1980s), 2.4 percent (1990s and 2000s) and 2.3 percent (2010-2014).

“The Philippines is now a service and trading economy more than a producing economy,” says Ibon. Workers know that the service and trading sectors of the economy are notorious for temporary employment, low wages, contractualization, and violation of the right to form unions.

The SWS tells us that the biggest segment of the jobless, amounting to 11.7 percent or 5 million adults, were retrenched from work. Contractualization has made it easier for employers to simply retrench workers.


Reference: Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0909-1636597