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Press Release No. 99-2
8 January 1999

Underemployment increases
as "flexible" working conditions intensify


Government boasts of a single-digit unemployment rate of 9.6% as of October 1998. Officials claim that this is better than the 13.3% unemployment rate last April.

Still, it cannot be denied that three million workers are still out of work, making them unproductive members of society and more important, depriving them of income.

It must be also kept in mind that the figures do not capture the totality of the unemployment landscape, since the underground economy is not taken into account. The seasonal and contractual nature of jobs also render those who are employed during the period surveyed to be out of work in the following months.

The government also remains mum on the fact that underemployment rate has increased to 23.7% which simply means that there are more and more workers who work less than 40 hours per week. (See Table)

It is clear that rampant contractualization has taken its toll on workers, as job rotation and other "flexible" working arrangements are being made. The latter is done not with the purview of making production more efficient but rather reducing the cost of production and adjusting to the crisis.


Labor Force Indicators
October 1997 & 1998 (absolute figures in thousands)

  1997 1998
Labor Force 30,265 31,278
Participation Rate 65.50% 65.80%
Employment 27,888 28.262
Employment Rate 92.10% 92.60%
Unemployment 2,377 3,016
Unemployment Rate 7.90% 9.60%
Underemployment 5,805 6,701
Underemployment Rate 20.80% 23.70%

Source: DOLE

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