In her recent State of the Nation Address, President Arroyo claimed to have created eight million jobs, or an average of a million jobs per year in the past eight years. But where exactly did this figure come from? A closer look at the government’s own data yields a statistical distortion.
By ARNOLD PADILLA
MANILA – She promised one million new jobs a year but critics are one in saying that the jobs crisis is at its worst under her administration.
To silence her critics and justify her regime, did President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ask government statisticians to give her, at all cost, “one million jobs a year” that she can cite in her State of the Nation Address (Sona)?
On her ninth and final Sona last July 27, Arroyo declared: “Lumikha tayo ng walong milyong trabaho (We created eight million jobs), an average of a million per year, much, much more than at any other time”.
Throughout the much anticipated speech, it was the only reference that Arroyo made to her job generation efforts. But it was a major statement that concretely summed up the supposed gains of the Arroyo administration in creating jobs since 2001.
Where did Arroyo’s speech writers get the figure of eight million jobs?
Official employment records released by the National Statistics Office (NSO) do not add up to eight million additional jobs since 2001. The technical report that usually accompanies Arroyo’s Sona has not been made public yet.
Further research revealed an interesting discovery. On the website of the Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics (BLES), an announcement on “Methodology in computing employment creation under President Arroyo administration: 2001-2009 (April)” is posted.
The BLES also posted a link on a resolution of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB), Resolution No. 9 “approving and adopting the official methodology for generating annual labor and employment estimates”.
The announcement and the NSCB resolution on the BLES website, which were posted after the Sona, are attempts to “statistically” explain the eight million jobs Arroyo cited. But instead of providing satisfactory answers, they exposed the brazen lie behind the Sona claim on jobs created by the Arroyo administration.
NSCB Resolution No. 9 was supposedly approved on July 6, or three weeks before the Sona. It states that in generating annual labor and employment estimates, the average estimates of the four rounds of Labor Force Survey (LFS) shall be used. The NSO conducts the LFS every January, April, July, and October.
Using this official methodology, the BLES computed employment creation under the Arroyo administration and arrived at the figure of 8.095 million jobs. (See Table)
But here’s the rub.