Thursday, January 13, 2005

Unemployment redefined

PAULO COELHO’S best-selling novel, “The Alchemist” avers that any individual who musters his skills and strives to seek out his rightful place in the sun would surprisingly find that the entire universe and its manifold powers shall help him get there.

For years, a popular Filipino broadcaster was continually urging the hapless among his listeners to draw an inventory of their skills and know-how. He admonished them to seek out at least 100 prospective employers that may avail of such unique capability.

There’s a worldwide market out there for every skill. There’s a job assignment waiting to be filled in by the right man—or woman—and all it takes is two-bit tenacity to seek it out.

Ah, the Scriptures are reassuring: “Seek and ye shall find.”

The international definition of unemployment is “those who have no work and are looking for work. Not those who are unemployed and who do not wish to seek work.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs clarifies that such an international standard defining unemployment ought to be applied to assess the state of the country’s labor force.

Indeed, it is a timely reality check that would give the facts straight— “the definition would not include those able to work but who choose not to. Many are part of the workforce but choose to make important contributions to society outside of work, particularly those who choose to care for their families.”

With such a realistic definition in place, labor experts pointed out that the unemployment rate of 11.4 percent in 2002 would be snipped down to 7.38 percent.

Now, that’s a fact.

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