5% jobless rate in Sept lowest since start of pandemic, under Marcos admin | Inquirer Business

5% jobless rate in Sept lowest since start of pandemic, under Marcos admin

, / 10:40 AM November 08, 2022
5% jobless rate in Sept lowest since start of pandemic, under Marcos admin

BG PHOTO:JOB MARKET Applicants look for jobs in this file photo of the Philippine Tourism Job Fair photo at SMX Convention Center in Pasay City. —RICHARD A. REYES | President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. via his official facebook page

The Philippines unemployment rate in September fell to a new low since the COVID-19 pandemic began, highlighting more green shoots of recovery as the country fully reopens its domestic economy.

The unemployment rate eased for a third month in a row to hit 5 percent in September, the Pilippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Tuesday, which bodes well for third quarter growth.

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“The recent survey results show the gains of the full reopening of our economy,” Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.

The Labor Force Survey done in September showed that the jobless rate in the country had dropped significantly to 5 percent from 8.9 percent in the same period last year. It was also down from 5.2 percent in July and 5.3 percent in August.

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This translates to 1.8 million fewer unemployed individuals. It remains largely at par with major Asian economies and is lower compared to that of India, Indonesia, and China, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).

“The unemployment rates in the last three survey rounds  brings us closer to the pre-pandemic full-year average of 5.1 percent,” National Statistician Dennis Mapa said.

The average unemployment rate so far this year — January-September — was 5.8 percent.

Balisacan said with the vibrant resumption of economic activities, an additional 2.2 million Filipinos joined the workforce, raising the country’s labor force participation rate to 65.2 percent in September 2022 from 63.3 percent year-on-year.

Accordingly, this accelerated the employment rate to 95 percent in September 2022, the highest recorded rate since January 2020. The significant de-escalation of community quarantine restrictions translates to an employment creation of 4 million year-on-year, bringing the total employment to 47.6 million in September 2022.

“The recent survey results show the gains of the full reopening of our economy. The government will leverage on this momentum by strengthening policy interventions and investing in innovation and technology systems geared toward generating higher-quality employment that provides adequate income for Filipino workers and their families,” Balisacan said.

Employment growth was observed across all sectors with the services sector accounting for 2.8 million more employed individuals, followed by the industry and agriculture sectors that registered an additional 682,000 and 461,000 additional employment, respectively.

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However, the underemployment rate worsened to 15.4 percent from 14.2 percent in September 2021, as more than 882,000 individuals sought to earn additional income with the spike in commodity prices due to inflation.

“Ensuring food security remains our top priority. In the immediate term, government is providing targeted cash transfer as well as fuel and crop subsidies to help protect the purchasing power of Filipinos and reduce the incidence of invisible underemployment among low-income households,” the Neda Secretary stated.

In addition, Balisacan highlighted the need for effective implementation of emergency employment programs and other forms of assistance to immediately assist those who were hard-hit by the calamities.

“As we are expecting La Niña and near to above-normal rainfall conditions in the coming months, we need to boost our disaster resilience and climate adaptation measures,” he said.

Further, Neda stressed the crucial role of the timely passage of the 2023 budget and expediting the  2022 budget implementation in accelerating recovery and mitigating impact of external risks, particularly the job-generating infrastructure projects.

“With the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 nearing its completion, we aim to strategize for a more efficient labor market by improving the quality of education, providing opportunities for life-long learning, skills development and options to obtain micro-credentials, enhancing job facilitation programs, and strengthening linkages among industry, business, and training institutions,” Balisacan added.

Ronnel W. Domingo

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TAGS: Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), unemployment rate
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