Jobless, underemployment rates fell to 14-year lows in October
The share of jobless and underemployed Filipinos in the labor force fell to 14-year lows in October, as the country enjoyed a “vibrant” employment market despite an increasing population, the government reported on Thursday.
Results of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) latest Labor Force Survey showed that the unemployment rate declined to 4.5 percent in October from 5.1 percent a year ago.
National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said the number of unemployed persons in the labor force went down to 2.05 million in October from 2.2 million in the same month last year.
As such, the number of employed Filipinos climbed to 43.2 million from 41.3 million during the same period.
Also, the October underemployment rate eased to 13 percent from a year ago’s 13.3 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.”Mapa said the unemployment and underemployment rates in October were the lowest since 2005, the year that the government adopted its current employment metrics.
However, the number of underemployed Filipinos increased to 5.62 million from 5.5 million a year ago.
Mapa attributed the increase in the total number of unemployed to the parallel rise in the labor force participation rate.
PSA data showed that the population of Filipinos 15 years old and older rose 2.3 percent to 73.5 million in October from 71.9 million a year ago.
Members of the labor force—or those aged 15 and above who were capable to be employed—meanwhile, increased by a faster 3.8 percent to 45.2 million from 43.5 million during the same period.
The labor force participation rate also grew to 61.5 percent in October from 60.6 percent last year, PSA data showed.
Meanwhile, the youth unemployment rate declined to 12.8 percent from 13.3 percent, such that the number of unemployed youth dropped to 946,000 in October from 983,000 last year.
The rate of youth who were not in employment, education and training (NEET) also declined to 17.1 percent from 18.7 percent a year ago, Mapa said.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) this week noted that the average youth NEET in the Asia-Pacific region was 18 percent.
In a statement, the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said “all major sectors—agriculture, industry and services—posted employment gains reaching a total net employment generation of 1.8 million” in October.
“The results of the October 2019 round of the LFS reflected a vibrant labor market. But the government must still continue to fast-track the implementation of programs and policies that help create quality employment and improve productivity,” Neda Undersecretary and officer in charge Adoracion M. Navarro said.
“Full implementation of recently enacted reforms, such as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act and the Revised Corporation Code, are essential in boosting employment creation by fostering micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) growth in the country,” Navarro added.
As such, Navarro expressed optimism the Philippines was on track to bringing down the unemployment rate to 5.1 percent this year, within the 4.7-5.3 percent target range under the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan (PDP).
“Employment generation averaged around 1.3 million in fiscal year 2019, far exceeding the government’s annual target of creating 900,000 to 1.1 million employment. Improving the quality of work in areas outside the National Capital Region and reducing the share of the youths at-risk were also met for the period,” according to Neda.
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