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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) presented their study “Underemployment in the Philippines” to representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment bureaus, services and attached agencies at the iLearn Conference Room in DOLE Building, General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila last November 22.

The two fundamental questions that the study investigated were: (I) what compels an individual to declare himself/herself to be underemployed; and (II) why has underemployment remained high. The study aims to contribute toward a better understanding of the status of underemployment in the country and to derive policy implications to help address it.

The ADB was represented by Yasuyuki Sawada, Chief Economist and Director-General, Jesus Felipe, Advisor, Gemma Estrada, Senior Economics Officer, and Donna Faye Bajaro, Consultant of the Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department.

The study defined an underemployed person as someone who is employed but declares himself/herself during the labor force survey that he/she desires to have additional hours of work in his/her present job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.

For its conclusion on what compels an individual to declare himself/herself to be underemployed, they found out that the main factor remains to be additional or bigger earnings. In 2015, 28% of the employed persons who earned less than the first income quintile were visibly underemployed. On average, they worked 20.5 hours a week. ADB pointed out that the implication would necessitate a need to examine more closely why such persons cannot find jobs with longer working hours and that provide sufficient earnings.

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