April 23, 2018, 8:03 am
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IN A DECADE; PH posts lowest underemployment

The country posted its lowest underemployment rate in more than a decade in October 2017, although the jobless rate slightly increased from its year ago level, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

According to the latest Labor Force Survey, the underemployment rate, or the proportion of employed who 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 was recorded at 15.9 percent in October 2017.

This is lower by 2.1 percentage points from the 18 percent recorded in 2016.

The said rate represents approximately 893,000 less underemployed workers.

The total employed meanwhile decreased to 41.6 million in October 2017, lower by 0.3 percentage points from a year ago, with the employment rate also being down to 95 percent from 95.3 percent in 2016.

The number of remunerative and stable wage and salaried workers increased by about 624,000, while vulnerable employment (proportion of self-employed and unpaid family workers to total employment) further decreased to 33.9 percent in October 2017, an improvement from 36.3 percent a year ago, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

“The lower underemployment rate and the higher proportion of wage and salary workers indicate improvement in the quality of employment in the country,” Ernesto Pernia, socioeconomic planning secretary, said in a statement yesterday.

“Regular conduct of job fairs and provision of livelihood assistance have contributed to the improvement of underemployment especially in areas outside of the National Capital Region. This is a good indicator that our efforts in the lagging regions are starting to take effect,” he added.

The jobless rate meanwhile increased to five percent in October from 4.7 percent a year ago.

NEDA said that agriculture, accounting for 25 percent of the country’s total employment, shed around 1.4 million employment (-12.1 percent). The said sector contributed to the setback in the overall employment rate in October 2017.

Pernia emphasized the need to closely monitor the agriculture sector to ensure that those engaged in agriculture are highly productive and resilient and are increasingly linked to the industry and services sectors.

“The agriculture sector is very vulnerable to risks including natural and man-made hazards. The government should strengthen early warning systems and social protection programs for the sector to ensure resiliency of agricultural communities,” he
said.

He added  the sector requires sustainable productivity improvements by promoting value addition, product diversification, and accelerating local infrastructure provision like irrigation systems and farm-to-market roads.

The number of employed people by industry and services, which accounted for 75.1 percent of the total employment, increased by 5.2 percent and four percent, respecectively.
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