Jobs hit 14-year high
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s jobless and underemployment rates fell to their lowest level in at least 14 years in 2019, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia told the Inquirer on Saturday.
Aside from creating 1.3 million jobs for the country’s 44.7 million labor force, the number of jobless dropped to 2.3 million while 5.9 million of the 42.4 million Filipinos with jobs were underemployed.
According to preliminary quarterly data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Friday, the unemployment rate further declined from 5.3 percent last year to 5.1 percent this year.
While the decline may seem marginal, the improvement was markedly better in the underemployment rate, which dropped from 16.4 percent last year to 14 percent this year.
The potential labor force — employable Filipinos aged 15 years and older — grew from 71.3 million in 2018 to 72.9 million this year while the participation rate also improved from 60.9 percent last year to 61.3 percent in 2019.
Pernia said the unemployment and underemployment rates this year would be the lowest since 2005, when the statistics agency adopted its current employment metrics.
He said the unemployment rate of 5.1 percent is well within the target range of 4.7 to 5.3 percent under the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan—the Duterte administration’s socioeconomic blueprint.
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.”
Among the employed, workers in the services sector accounted for the bulk or 58 percent of total; agriculture sector workers, 22.9 percent; and industry sector workers, 19.1 percent, PSA data showed.
Most of the unemployed came from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Calabarzon and Metro Manila.
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