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Typhoons ‘blew away’ jobs

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The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) on Saturday explained the rise in unemployment rate in the third quarter was due to the jobs lost in the agriculture sector following typhoons that hit the country.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the agriculture sector was affected the most in terms of job creation.

“In the last quarter, the agriculture sector lost a lot of jobs because of Typhoon Ompong and Typhoon Rosita,” said Bello. “The farmers and agriculture workers were out of work because of the devastation, but it is only temporary.”

To recall, the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) Labor Force Survey showed the jobless rate slightly rose in October while the employment rate declined, adding of the 71.886-million population of 15 years old and above, the unemployment rate stood at 5.1 percent from 5.0 percent in the same period last year.

The data translates into 2.202 million unemployed Filipinos in the labor force, compared to 2.185 million year-on-year while the employment rate, meanwhile, had slipped to 94.9 percent or 41.329 million Filipinos from 95 percent or 41.547 million in the comparable period.

But the Labor secretary noted that year-to-date, the unemployment rate went down up to the third quarter.

“We are monitoring the rise of the unemployment rate only for this third quarter,” said Bello. “But if you look at data since the first quarter, it shows that the unemployment rate went down.”

Bello also said the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program of the government is helping address the unemployment rate.

“The employment opening will be in 2019 to 2020, because the projects of the Duterte administration will be at full blast by that time,” said Bello. “Once it happens, jobs will be generated and we estimate that our economic managers will be able to produce at least 800,000 to one million jobs for 2019.”

He also said two DoLE undersecretaries are planning to hold a reverse job fair in the Middle East to entice overseas Filipino workers to go home and work in the Philippines, adding that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority can go full blast in training those who will return to the country to work.

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