For the Record 

On the redefinition of social indicators

This article seeks to clarify some of the points and misconceptions concerning two important social indicators – unemployment and poverty – mentioned in the article “Paranoid gov’t. seeing communists in media,” which came out in the Postscript column of Mr. Federico D. Pascual, Jr. in the 24 August 2006 issue of the Philippine Star

Mr. Pascual’s statement

“The NEDA under Neri has revised statistical methods and definitions to come up with better social indicators and make them affirm the claimed economic growth.

“By simply changing the definition of joblessness, and not by job creation, Neri was able to reduce the unemployment rate to 8.2 percent in April…

“Using its revised definition, government pegs the national average poverty threshold per day at only P33.72, which means that a Filipino who earns this much daily is already considered non-poor. This has allowed the Arroyo government to claim that it has lowered poverty incidence from 33 percent of the population in 2000 to 30 percent now.”

NSCB clarification

A. On the revision of official statistics

(a) Official statistics are oftentimes released based on incomplete data from surveys and administrative reports and hence, have to be revised as soon as supplementary data become available.

(b) Official statistics is an evolving science that must adapt to emerging concepts, definitions, and classifications, and changes in existing ones.

(c) Improvements in statistical methodologies and the need of researchers and econometric modelers for comparable, consistent and long data series require the statistical offices to revise past estimates computed using old methodologies.

(d) Revisions are inherent in some statistical tools.

(e) Revisions are sometimes necessary to correct for human errors in official statistics.

B. On the revised definition of unemployment

C. On the revised methodology for poverty estimation

D. On the revision of definitions in other sectors/sciences

The NSCB would like to thank the Mr. Pascual and the Philippine Star for their interest in statistics. For inquiries, please contact Ms. Redencion M. Ignacio of the NSCB Social Sectors B Division at telephone numbered (632) 890-5390 or at e-mail address

1The Committee has a multi-sectoral representation consisting of noted experts in the area of poverty measurement and is mandated to study and recommend improvements on the methodologies and estimation procedures used in generating official poverty statistics and related indicators


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