The country’s unemployment rate in January stood at 7.1 percent, improving just a little from the 7.2 percent registered in the same month last year, the National Statistics Office (NSO) on Friday reported.
In the NSO’s Labor Force Survey report for January, the National Capital Region accounted for most of the unemployed with a rate of 9.5 percent. The lowest recorded was in the Cagayan Valley at 3.3 percent.
Among the unemployed, 63.6 percent were males. Almost half, or 49.3 percent, of the unemployed were aged 15 to 24 years.
The bulk of the unemployed were in the educated workforce, mainly high school graduates (33.7 percent), college graduates (16.9 percent), and college undergraduates (13.1 percent), the survey showed.
This implies few employment opportunities for those lacking in work experience through education, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said in a statement.
Yet, the Neda noted that employment growth came from the group of salaried workers. It also said that the number of full-time workers grew faster than part-time workers. This only showed that the quality of employment had improved, economic planning officials said.
The total number of employed Filipinos grew by 1.6 percent to 37.9 million from a year ago, led by the services and industry sectors. This resulted in a net employment creation of 606,000 during the period, a little over half of the 1.04 million generated a year ago.
The underemployment rate increased by 20.9 percent in Jan. 2013 from 18.8 percent in the same period last year.
“The high level of underemployment may be partly due to the high percentage of new labor entrants aged 15 to 34, who might have been employed as contractual [workers] or are still under probation for which the wage received is low,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.
He said that the creation of decent and productive employment should remain the top priority of the government.
Government projects and private investments can help further lower the unemployment rate, Cid L. Terosa of the University of Asia and the Pacific said in a text message.
“In particular, tourism, construction, agribusiness, wholesale and retail trade, and service industries like BPO and hotel sector will lead the way in generating jobs,” he said.