10 January 2009

Unemployment and your Health

I saw this on page 3 of yesterday's Financial Times. It is a global perspective of the human cost of unemployment.

The FT article showed unemployment rates last year (2008) and compared it with the latest available rates in different parts of the world:

As you can see, with the exception of Brazil and Germany, unemployment rates have risen in almost every part of the world.

The biggest unemployment rate is seen to happen (or is already happening) in the United States with more than 3 million going jobless.

In the Philippines, the first day of the year was greeted direly by the 2009 forecast of a former budget secretary and UP economist saying that at least 11 million Filipinos will lose their jobs in 2009.
And as with previous reports, Diokno said jobs abroad would also be definitely affected by the crisis and more overseas Filipino workers would be expected to come home, especially domestic helpers, skilled workers, and medical personnel.

"Workers will continue to struggle," said Diokno, noting that it will also not be a good time to ask for a raise.

"In an event, the supply for jobs is high and the demand is low and you ask for a raise, the usual move of employers is babaratin ka sa presyo [they will be stingy] or even fire employees," added Diokno
. ~ Inquirer.net, 2 Jan 2009

Days later, the dire projection was disputed by a government official.
Labor Secretary Marianito Roque on Monday scoffed at the projection of economist and former Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno that the global financial crisis would render 11 million Filipinos jobless.

"We will have people affected by the financial crisis, but not in that magnitude," he added. "Let us not scare ourselves."

Pressed to provide hard data on the unemployment prospects for 2009, Roque declined, saying the department is in the middle of a survey of labor conditions in all industries. The Secretary said they will release the data before the end of January.

Based on initial reports, Roque said the number of Filipinos affected by the crisis is "not that huge."
~ Inquirer.net, 5 Jan 2009

Whatever the truth is, this year casts a grim outlook on people's financial conditions, and when that happens, it is not only depression that we should worry about. The money (if ever there's any left) set aside for health and sickness concerns quickly evaporates. The priority for spending becomes getting food on the table for the family, and seeing that people can still eat 3 square meals per day.

This is sad.

The collective move should, therefore, focus on practicing preventive health measures, because managing full-blown diseases would be more costly. Hospitalization becomes an impossible dream when people have no money. Even annual or regular check-ups with doctors might be totally written off by most people.
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