Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Farming is a Job Too

Everyone who is so worried about the employment picture seems to have forgotten that there is a boom down on the farm. With record agriculture prices and generous susbidies, the farm sector is booming. The DOL today released an upbeat report on employment in 2008:

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today said 2008 showed signs more favorable to employment growth as the slump in the agricultural sector made a turnaround in the first month of the year.

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said that despite the spiraling oil price hikes coupled with the continuing depreciation of the US dollar, employment grew modestly in January 2008 with the agricultural sector as the main driver of growth.

Citing the National Statistics Office's (NSO) January 2008 Labor Force Survey (LFS), Roque said total employed persons increased from 33.545 million in January 2007 to 33.695 million in the same period this year. The modest growth was expected as it came from a higher base last year. It should be noted that employment in January 2007 expanded by a robust 4.7% (+1.514 million), the highest of the four LFS surveys last year.

Roque said employment growth was driven by the agricultural sector, which turned around from last year's slump (-39,000) and expanded by1.3%. In absolute terms, the number of employed persons in the agriculture, fishery, and forestry rose by 156,000 from 11.639 million in January 2007 to 11.795 million in January 2008.

Other employment gains occurred in construction (+73,000), mining and quarrying (+8,000), and electricity, gas, and water (+2,000).

In status of employment, Roque said data showed that workers employed on a full-time basis rose by 1.6% or an additional of 329,000. Part-time employment, on the other hand, fell by 1.4% (-167,000) over the period.

The employment report on Friday is about non Farm Payrolls. It seems silly to exclude the employment that is happening in the farm sector if we want a true picture of the health of the economy.

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