More than fourth of employed workers are into ‘elementary occupations’–PSA

Cigarette vendor Rogelio Buenviaje, 64, carries a wooden box containing cigarette packs and candies as he walks along busy streets to sell his items in Manila.

Over a quarter of the country’s total employed workers are street vendors, laborers and domestic helpers, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The final results of the 2016 July Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed that 26.9 percent of the employed population are engaged in “elementary occupations”.

The PSA said among these are those involved in unskilled labor, such as street vendors, construction site workers, cleaners, domestic helpers and farm hands.

“One in every four of the total employed persons are engaged in elementary occupations,” the PSA said.

Former Labor Undersecretary Rene E. Ofreneo told the BusinessMirror this is proof that the informal sector is a “huge catch basin” for employment.

This is a problem for the economy since these types of workers cannot easily be absorbed by high-end employers, such as those in the business-process outsourcing industry.

Ofreneo said this is a result of uncoordinated economic and employment planning programs. He said planning should not always be for export.

“In order [to address this, we need] interventions, like asset reform and human-resource development programs, that are tailored to their needs,” Ofreneo said.

The second-largest group of workers are managers at 17.3 percent, followed by service and sales workers at 15.2 percent; skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers, 13 percent; and craft and related trade workers, 8 percent.

The PSA data showed plant and machine operators and assemblers accounted for 5.8 percent; clerical- support workers, 5.2 percent; professionals, 5.1 percent; technicians and associate professionals, 3.4 percent.

The occupation with the least percentage of the work force are armed forces and special occupations at 0.2 percent of the total.

“[Employed workers] refer to persons in the labor force who are reported either as at work, or with a job or business, although not at work. Persons at work are those who did some work, even for an hour, during the reference period,” the PSA said.

Meanwhile, data showed more than half, or 55 percent, of the employed population were in the services sector.

This was followed by the agriculture sector, which accounted for 27.2 percent, and the rest, or 17.8 percent, were in the industry sector.

Data also showed three in every five, or 61.2 percent, of the total employed persons were wage and salary workers.

Some 27.6 percent were self-employed, while 3.5 percent were employers in own family-operated farm or business,  and 7.7 percent were unpaid family workers.

The PSA, however, said overseas Filipino workers are not considered part of the labor force in the Philippines.

This means that the LFS data on economic characteristics of household members who are overseas workers are not collected. For the LFS reports, they are also excluded in the estimation of the size of working population, that is, population aged 15 years and older, and in the estimation of the labor force.



Image Credits: AP/Aaron Favila


Cai Ordinario

A professional journalist for over a decade, Cai U. Ordinario currently writes macroeconomic and urban development stories for BusinessMirror. She has received awards for excellence in reporting on the macroeconomy and statistics. She was also cited for her contribution to statics reporting by the National Statistical Coordination Board (now the Philippine Statistics Authority). She is a recipient of journalism fellowships including the Jefferson Fellowship from the Honolulu-based East West Center. She is currently completing her Masters degree in Communication at the University of the Philippines. She graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Arts Major in Journalism from the University of Santo Tomas.