Friday, February 11, 2011

New Way to Measure Poverty Denounced as Deceptive, Can Undermine Calls for Better Wages - Bulatlat

According to the NSCB, the annual growth rate in 2010 of 7.3 percent was the highest GDP growth since the 8.8 percent growth recorded in 1976 – the highest in 34 years, a claim that grassroots people’s organizations find impossible to believe.

Independent think-tank Ibon Foundation said that the government’s latest labor force survey pegs unemployment at 2.80 million in October 2010, slightly higher than the 2.72 million reported in the same period last year. The number of the unemployed could very well be pegged at 4.16 million instead, the economic research group said. The difference, it pointed out, is caused by the recently revised definition of unemployment and an estimate approximating the previous definition for comparability with previous years.

Ibon Foundation added that while the reported creation of over a million jobs from last year is welcome, the quality of over half these jobs leaves much to be desired. Out of the one million new jobs created, some 515,000 were in the economy’s lowest earning sectors: agriculture (201,000 jobs), wholesale and retail trade (251,000) and private households (62,000).

The stubbornness of high unemployment and rising underemployment despite the government’s declaration of a “scintillating” 6.5 percent economic growth in the third quarter affirms that joblessness remains a serious cause for concern.

Based on Ibon’s analysis, there is a problem if the economy is consistently able to register growth and deliver corporate profits but unable to create enough jobs and raise wages. The situation highlights the need for urgent reforms in the domestic economy and address its inability to create regular and productive jobs, the group said.

Indifference

Gaite said that this latest move of the Aquino administration to alter the poverty index by bringing the poverty line lower proves its indifference to the woeful plight of the common Filipino.

“It also shows Aquino’s complete inability to intervene and halt the unabated price hikes. The government’s systematic abandonment of its responsibility to provide accessible commodities and services for the people could very well lead to widespread discontent and protests,” he said.

New Way to Measure Poverty Denounced as Deceptive, Can Undermine Calls for Better Wages - Bulatlat

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