Jobless rate steady at 5.4%

    Search for quality jobs. The Philippine Development Plan targets a range of 4.3 to 5.3 percent unemployment rate.
    Search for quality jobs. The Philippine Development Plan targets a range of 4.3 to 5.3 percent unemployment rate.

    Employment opportunities in the Philippines improved based on the latest government survey, with all indicators showing significant change though still short of the growth of the country’s potential labor pool.

    The July round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed the number of unemployed numbered 2.45 million, up from 2.32 million a year ago, for an unemployment rate of 5.4 percent, similar to last year, which remains the “lowest” for all July rounds of the survey since 2009.

    The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the year-to-date unemployment rate is estimated at 5.2 percent, near the upper end of the 4.3 to 5.3 percent target in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.

    The PSA said of the 45.42 million available workers in the Philippines, 42.96 million reported to have had work, up from 40.66 million last year. Last year, the labor pool registered a total of 43 million.

    This pushed employment rate of 94.6 percent as of July, similar to the employment rate recorded a year ago.

    NEDA said this showed there was an additional 2.3 million jobs created as of the last count, “almost five times the 479,000 employment generated in the same period last year.”

    “The total number of employed Filipinos reached nearly 43 million in July 2019 on account of stronger employment in the services (6.1 percent from 4.7 percent in 2018) and agriculture sectors (7.6 percent from -7.4 percent in 2018),” NEDA said.

    “While the economy has shown remarkable improvements in the labor market, the government should continually improve its efforts towards generating more productive and higher quality employment that provides adequate income for Filipino workers and their families,” said  Rosemarie Edillon, NEDA undersecretary for Policy and Planning.

    Those who reported searching for additional work while remaining employed meanwhile was reported at 6.31 million, down from 7 million a year ago, with underemployment rate as of July down to13.9 percent compared to 17.23 percent last year.

    NEDA noted that youth labor force participation rate (LFPR)  went up 38.3 percent, or  by 1.5 percentage points from the previous survey period.

    “Moreover, an improvement in female LPFR was noted, given the decline in the number of females who are economically inactive or not in the labor force. A sharp decline of 3.4 percent (361,000) was observed in the number of women who cited assumption of household and family duties as reason for not being in the labor force,” Edillon said.