Jobless rate eased to 5.3% in 2018; underemployment up at 16.4%
The rate of jobless Filipinos in the labor force declined to 5.3 percent in 2018 from 5.7 percent last year even as underemployment inched up, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Citing the preliminary results of its Annual Labor and Employment Estimates for 2018, which were based on the average of the four rounds of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) during the months of January, April, July and October, the PSA said in a report last Friday that the employment rate was estimated to have had improved to 94.7 percent this year from 94.3 percent in 2017.
This was equivalent to 41.2 million Filipinos with jobs.
Those without jobs, meanwhile, numbered 2.3 million.
Despite a lower unemployment rate, the share of underemployed belonging to the labor force population rose to 16.4 percent for the entire year from last year’s 16.1 percent.
The PSA defines the underemployed as “employed persons who express the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, or to have additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.”
The 2018 underemployment rate translated to 6.7 million people.
The labor force, comprised of those 15 years old and above, increased to 71.3 million from 2017’s 69.9 million.
The annual labor force participation rate or the share of “economically active population either employed or unemployed” to total labor force was 60.9 percent in 2018, down from 61.2 percent in 2017.
According to the PSA, a total of 43.5 million Filipinos belonging to the labor force population either had a job or had none this year.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia earlier said that about 826,000 net jobs were created in 2018, but below the government’s target to generate 900,000 to 1.1 million yearly under the medium-term socioeconomic blueprint Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2018-2022.
Pernia, who heads the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), nonetheless had noted that “the labor market continues to improve overall.” —BEN O. DE VERA
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