The unemployment rate in the Philippines worsened to 4.3 percent in December 2022 from 4.2 percent in November even as the holiday season peaked, according to preliminary data at the Philippine Statistics Authority.
National Statistician Dennis Mapa said in a briefing “the difference between the December and November figures is not significantly different (statistically).”
In December, there were 2.2 million working-age Filipinos who were available for work and were actively looking for jobs, 43,000 more than the 2.18 million jobseekers in November.
Still, this was much better than the jobs market a year earlier when there were 3.28 million unemployed or 1.06 million more in December 2021. Back then, the unemployment rate was 6.6 percent.
Mapa said that what was more notable in the latest survey result was that those who do have jobs have better-quality work, particularly in terms of longer work hours per week, which meant more income for them.
For full-year 2022, the jobless rate was at 5.4 percent with 2.67 million Filipinos without work. This was an improvement from 7.8 percent in 2021 when there were 3.7 million jobless Filipinos.
Unemployment was worst in 2020 at the height of the pandemic when 10.4 percent of Filipinos 15 years and older who were available to work — 3.7 million of them — failed to get a job.
Secretary Arsenio Balisacan of the National Economic and Development Authority said the government remained committed to providing “more, better and green job opportunities” to Filipinos, especially through the recently approved Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028.
Balisacan noted that the top employment contributors in December 2022 include wholesale and retail trade, other service activities, and accommodation and food service activities, which were boosted by the full resumption of commercial activities, pent-up demand, and holiday spending.
However, these were tempered by losses in agriculture due to weather disturbances and the spread of infectious diseases among livestock and poultry.
“Generating more and high-quality jobs in the agriculture sector and ensuring food security for Filipinos remain part of our top priorities,” he said.
Alongside providing high-quality jobs, we must ensure that their skills are not just aligned with current in-demand requirements but can also continuously keep up with the demands of evolving and emerging jobs,” Balisacan added.
In December, there were 49 million Filipinos who had jobs. This was 704,000 less than the number of employed Filipinos in November.
The top five sub-sectors with the highest drop in the number of employed persons from November to December were manufacturing (fewer by 585,000); wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (387,000); accommodation and food service activities (240,000); human health and social work activities (239,000); and real estate activities (168,000).
Still there were sub-sectors that saw their workforces expand. The top five gainers were agriculture and forestry (by an additional 829,000); fishing and aquaculture (291,000); administrative and support service activities (257,000); construction (138,000); and “0ther service activities” (123,000).
Philippine jobless rate fell further to 4.2% in November