Popcom to govt: Produce more jobs in 2021 for working-age population
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Population and Development (Popcom) on Wednesday said that “at least half a million new jobs” should be generated in 2021 in line with a projected increase in the working-age population.
Based on the 2021 projection of Popcom, the population of working-age or Filipinos, aged 15 to 64 years old, is expected to increase by over one million and reach 71,278,520 next year. The population group makes up 64.15 percent of the country’s entire population.
According to Popcom Executive Director Juan Antonio Perez III, the uptick may signify an “opportunity for economic gain” since it might result in increased income and productivity especially during the pandemic.
But, Perez said that there’s a need for the government to provide more sources of income for those who are about to enter the workforce in the coming year.
“This means that the country, in the middle of this crisis, we still need to create new jobs for at least half a million based on the existing employment ratios,” he said.
“[T]here is a need to ensure that the members of the labor force are healthy, educated, skilled and gainfully employed. This is what we need to work on to attain the demographic dividend and reap its economic benefits in the next five years, otherwise, they can also potentially become dependents on the income of the family and on government services,” he added.
According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), as of October, there are 3.8 million unemployed individuals in the country. This is equivalent to an 8.7 percent unemployment rate.
PSA also noted that about 4.5 million Filipinos became jobless this year brought by the strict lockdown protocols and the closing of many businesses across the country due to COVID-19.
Meanwhile, those under the “dependent” population – people who cannot or no longer work due to their age – will also increase next year. The most significant increase will be among the senior citizens, which Popcom reported will exceed ten million “for the first time.”
“Filipinos 60 years and older will increase in absolute numbers for 2021 at 10,059,686,” the commission said in a statement.
Perez said the needs of the senior citizens should be met, considering the possible increase in the cost of health care services during the pandemic since they are more vulnerable to contracting the COVID-19.
“We also need to focus on the needs of this vulnerable part of the population, as it is also an often-neglected sector,” he added.
The population of Filipinos aged 0 to 14 years old, who are also among the “dependent population” is also estimated to shoot up to 475,543 next year.
Popcom reported that the country’s population might surge and hit 110.8 million in 2021. It added that it can still escalate to 111.1 million due to unplanned pregnancies and lack of access to reproductive health services amid the pandemic.
Despite this increase, the commission said the population growth rate will further decline by 1.31 percent in the coming year. The growth rate in 2019 was at 1.45 percent, which was lower than the 1.68 in 2016.
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