Generation of the Philippine Working Life Tables: Some Methodological Considerations

by Dhona Sta. Rosa Reyes, Master of Arts in Demography (2005)

The stability and growth of a country’s economy hinges on its ability to provide goods and services for both domestic and international use. In the production of goods and provision of services, labor plays a critical role. It represents an important factor of production. Hence, a research that focuses on labor force is essential to national as well as regional planning (Integral Household Bulletin, 2000).

This study tries to investigate the changes in the patterns of the Philippine labor force through construction of the working life tables. Calculation of the working life tables for males and females in the Philippines utilizing the available estimates of the life table functions by Fileger and Cabigon (May 1994) and the hybrid labor force participation rates (LFS and Census activity rates) for 1970 and 1990 provides life expectancies by work status (active or inactive). These are indicators that simultaneously deal with quantity by measuring the number of years lived by a hypothetical cohort in the labor force. An estimate of the length of working life shows the potential contribution in the economy of those active individual who are in the labor force.

The method used for calculating the working life tables separately for males and females in the Philippines for 1970 and 1990 in this study are based form the UN Manual of on the Methods of Analyzing the Census Data on Economic Activities of the Population.

Findings on the labor force participation rates show that the age pattern of activity rates estimated using the census of the labor force survey data generally depicts a generally observed inverted U-shape.

Determination of the potential contribution of the labor force with the use of working life tables for males and females through the quantification of the working life expectancy; this study found that Filipino males have higher working life expectancy compared to Filipino females at all ages within the 10 years span. This was due to the predominant participation of males in the labor force in all ages than their female counterparts. The index of potential growth in the labor force of Filipino workers declines. Thus, within 20 years span, the median ago of entry and retirement among Filipino males and females increased. However, their median age declines. Moreover, the average number of working years lived by a Filipino worker under a given schedule of age specific activity rated decline, while among Filipino female workers it increases within the 2-year period.

From this study, the researcher recommends that refinements in methodology in constructing working life tables for males and females will depend necessarily on available input data. Since, values on census and surveys are useful inputs in deriving estimates on the working life tables, it is therefore important that census and labor force survey procedure and its enumeration be given focus for improvement so that truncation of data be avoided.