Press Releases

Statement on the November 2023 unemployment rate

January 25th, 2024

Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda

The November 2023 unemployment rate is the lowest since April 2005, demonstrating the Marcos administration’s commitment to providing opportunities for decent livelihood for all. Jobs growth was buoyed in large part by agriculture (1.24 million more jobs), and fishing and aquaculture (305 thousand), sectors where progress would also lead to lower food and overall prices. President Marcos has focused intently on these sectors, as fundamental to addressing both food prices and rural poverty.

Growth in sectors such as construction, and transportation also indicate higher demand for housing and consumer goods – always positive signs for any economy.

While I celebrate this news, we must not rest on our laurels.

We must continue to encourage investments in manufacturing, which lost some 1.39 million jobs year-on-year. Durable manufacturing jobs come from a strong industrial base, which can only be built through a steady stream of investments, availability of competitively-priced inputs such as lower power cost, and continued innovation among the country’s entrepreneurs.

We need a strong manufacturing sector because it is what will add value to our agricultural production, and it provides opportunities accessible to workers of all education levels. It is what has created strong middle classes in developed countries.

To that end, the House, under the leadership of Speaker Romualdez, is pushing for reforms that will strengthen the manufacturing sector.

These include the CREATE MORE Act, which has a particular focus on encouraging manufacturing investments, through the 200% additional deduction for power cost, which may be accumulated during the Income Tax Holiday (ITH) period for registered enterprises, and a Special Skills visa to foreign nationals who possess highly specialized skills and working visa to foreign nationals holding executive positions, as well as to non-resident aliens in supervisory, technical, and advisory positions. Power cost remains one of the biggest hurdles to investments in manufacturing. While the DOE address structural issues in the energy sector, cost competitiveness through tax policy will also help boost large investments in manufacturing.

We also remain committed to further economic liberalization through amending the economic provisions of the Constitution, to free up constraints to more foreign capital and know-how.

The Procurement Law amendments also propose to give preference to domestic bids that offer goods, articles, supplies and materials substantially grown, produced, made or manufactured in the Philippines, even with a substantially cheaper (up to 25%) qualifying foreign bid. Historically, because government is often the biggest single purchaser in economies, countries have boosted their manufacturing sectors through procurement – and we hope to create a similar effect in the country.

What will make this economy resilient is the rise of a strong, stable, and prosperous middle class. Decent employment is at the heart of this. We in the President’s coalition are committed to this goal.

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