THE GOVERNMENT needs to create more public-sector jobs after unemployment worsened to a three-month high in June, a labor group said.

“The economy’s sluggish capacity to generate jobs is a fitting reminder to the government that job generation is too important to leave in the hands of the private sector,” Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa Secretary-General Josua T. Mata said in a Viber message.

The jobless rate rose to 4.3% in June, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Aug. 9. Job quality worsened as the underemployment rate, which measures those employed who are seeking more work or longer hours, increased to 12% from 11.7% a month earlier. This was lower than the 12.6% posted in June 2022.

Mr. Mata said the government’s jobs package needs to include income guarantees, paid training programs and the promotion of green or climate-related jobs to help lower carbon emissions.

Last week, Labor Secretary Bienvenido E. Laguesma presented his department’s labor and employment plan to the Cabinet. The labor roadmap called for enhanced coordination with other agencies to promote sustainable jobs and social protections for the workforce.

He said the government is seeking more partnerships with the private sector to create more jobs in infrastructure.

Public Works Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan told a Palace briefing on Aug. 8 that the government will need more than three million workers to staff major infrastructure projects.

He said the Department of Public Works and Highways has 70,000 ongoing major and minor infrastructure projects this year, which are valued at about P890 billion.

“(Upskilling) is an important step toward employment gains because you cannot separate the linkage of training and employment,” Mr. Laguesma told a news briefing last month.

In his second address to Congress last month, President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. urged his Cabinet to continue working towards making the workforce more employable.

“The need for government to directly provide jobs through a massive public employment program that the labor movement has been calling for,” Mr. Mata said.

In a statement on Sunday, the Federation of Free Workers (FFW) also cited the need for workers to form more trade unions and exercise their right to bargain with their employers as the job situation deteriorates.

“In a time where job concerns escalate and wealth accumulates at the pinnacle, freedom of association becomes crucial,” said Arlene D. Golloso, board member of the FFW and president of the Ateneo de Davao Academic and Teaching Union.

 “Every Filipino worker deserves an environment that acknowledges and upholds their rights, granting them a just share of the fruits of their labor.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez