Recto: Strong labor market improvements a sign of thriving and more inclusive economy, gov’t initiatives to enhance the ease of doing biz in PH will bring in more high-quality jobs for Filipinos

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Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto has referred to the strong labor market improvements in the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) as a sign of a thriving and more inclusive economy and underscored that the government’s initiatives to enhance the ease of doing business in the Philippines will further bring in more high-quality jobs for Filipino workers.

“This clearly demonstrates that the Philippine economy is not just resilient but thriving amid external challenges. More importantly, it tells us that our economic growth is becoming more inclusive as it engages more and more Filipinos to participate in the labor market,” the Finance Chief said. 

“The encouraging results reinforce our confidence that the government’s policies and interventions aimed at creating more and higher-quality jobs for the Filipino people are paying off,” he added.

The LFS for March 2024 indicated a continued decline in the country’s unemployment rate, which dropped to 3.9% from 4.7% in the same month last year. The reduction translates to 416,000 fewer unemployed persons. 

Meanwhile, the total number of employed individuals reached 49.2 million in March 2024, higher than the 48.6 million in March 2023.

The services sector continued to provide the most jobs in March, accounting for 61.4% (30.2 million) of the employed population. This was followed by agriculture (20.5% or 10.1 million) and industry (18.1% or 9.0 million). 

Apart from the increased number of employed individuals, the results showed that people are engaged in more quality jobs as underemployment continues to decrease to 11.0% from 11.2% in March 2023.

This improvement in the quality of employment is evident in the current landscape of labor class in the country as wage and salary workers continued to contribute the largest share of the total employed individuals at 64.2% (31.6 million) in March 2024

Among the wage and salary workers, private establishments employ 77.9% (24.6 million), while the public sector share was just 14.8% (4.7 million). 

“The increase in stable wage and salary employment, especially in the private sector, is a testament to the strength of our economy. It reflects sustained business confidence and ensures that more Filipinos are gaining access to formal and high-quality jobs,” Secretary Recto stressed.


Government initiatives to enhance the ease of doing business in the Philippines

Secretary Recto is optimistic about providing more high-quality jobs to Filipinos in the near term as the Department of Finance (DOF) expedites the implementation of its Growth-Enhancing Actions and Resolutions (GEARs) to help the country with its fiscal consolidation while growing the economy through employment-generating investments.

At the core of this plan is aggressively rolling out the red carpet for investors to enter the country and generate more quality employment for the people. 

This includes accelerating the implementation of investment-enhancing economic liberalization laws and the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code, including pushing for the immediate passage of the amendments to the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law dubbed as CREATE MORE. 

The CREATE MORE bill will enhance the country’s tax incentives policy and administration, and tailor-fit the interests of investors in strategic investments.

This is expected to sustain the Philippines’ attractiveness to investments and bring in more employment opportunities for qualified workers through the influx of international companies and the expansion of export-oriented industries.

Apart from this, the government is ramping up the roll-out of the Build Better More program which will not only offer more employment opportunities for construction workers, but will also open the doors for more highly technical jobs such as engineering, architecture, and consultancy that will nurture Filipino expertise and talent.

In tandem, Secretary Recto emphasized that the government will continue to prioritize empowering the Filipino workforce through substantial investments in human capital development. 

These include more funds for education, upskilling and worker training, health care, and other human capital development programs, which will enhance Filipinos’ preparedness for high-quality employment opportunities.

“The Marcos, Jr. administration has been actively engaging with global partners and investors all around the world, showcasing that the Philippines is now in its strongest position to welcome foreign investors. By continuously improving the ease of doing business, we expect a surge in foreign investments that will not only generate quality jobs but also provide training to equip Filipino workers with the skills and technological prowess needed to excel on the global stage,” Secretary Recto said.