A significant factor of the growing poverty, despite the much-hyped 28 quarters of economic growth, is the poor quality of jobs created during the first six years of Arroyo’s term.

Data from the National Statistics Office Labor Force Survey showed that the most number of jobs created from 2001 to 2006 were in agriculture, wholesale and retail trade and private households with employed persons. “These are among the lowest paying and most insecure jobs in the country,” said IBON research head Sonny Africa.

For example, the informal sector of wholesale and retail trade created 1.02 million jobs during the period. The average daily wage for those working in the sector in 2006 was P228.72 even as the legislated minimum wage in Metro Manila as of July 2006 was P300.

Meanwhile, the agriculture, hunting and forestry sector created 681,000 jobs but were mainly unpaid family workers. Private households with employed persons or household help, accounted for 409,000 of the new jobs. Household help would be lucky to earn P2,500 to P3,500 a month, Africa pointed out.

Meanwhile, the growth of the agriculture and manufacturing sectors from 2001 to 2006 was tepid, averaging 3.6% and 4.3%, respectively, thus unable to create regular and productive jobs. The number of new manufacturing jobs from 2001 to 2006 was just 153,000 and the sector even lost 18,000 jobs in 2006.

This is significant given that these sectors constitute the base of any genuinely developing economy, he said.

The sectors with the biggest annual average growth over the period, and thus the biggest contribution to overall economic growth, were mining and quarrying, transportation, communication and storage, and finance. These sectors however have low and short-term job generating capacity.

Economic growth is valued not for its own sake but for the improvement in people’s livelihoods and welfare,” said Africa. “In this sense, Arroyo’s 28 continuous quarters of growth are worthless as tens of millions of Filipinos are as poor as ever.”


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