HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 9 no. 1 (2009)

Unemployment Threat of the Financial Crisis

Paulynne J. Castillo

Discipline: Social Science, Finance



The global financial crisis has permeated the lives of ordinary people where it hurts them the most, that is, loss of employment opportunities. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that the global unemployment level will go up by 20 million people by the end of 2009, from 190 million in 2007. At the Asian regional level, the picture looks bleak as experts project that 113 million individuals will find themselves out of work in 2009. The rising unemployment rate, in turn, could "plunge more than 140 million people in the region into poverty," (ILO, 2009) setting back the impressive economic performance of the countries in the region. In the Philippines, the most vulnerable are the youth, women migrant workers and those working in small and medium enterprises. This paper lays down the facts, mostly from accounts in the media and from hard data coming from agencies that cater to the needs of the labor sector. It presents the unemployment scenario at three levels: global, regional and national. As unemployment rises, the paper calls for countries in the region to use fiscal stimulus packages as safety nets to prevent widespread social unrest. In the Philippines, measures have been drawn to meet the challenges. It is evident that Filipino overseas workers are widely affected and the government has responded by shifting the targeted labor market away from those with weak demands to those with greater needs. New markets being explored are Guam, New Zealand and Australia.