Unemployment rate at lowest in 14 yrs

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    The country’s unemployment and underemployment rates in October 2019 fell to their lowest levels since 2005, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.

    In a press conference held in Manila yesterday, Claire Dennis Mapa, national statistician, said the unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent in October 2019, while the underemployment rate was at 13 percent.

    “The unemployment rate has been the lowest since 2005, across all quarters. The underemployment is also the lowest since 2005,” Mapa said.

    “We used the reference 2005 because there was a change in the definition (during the said year), so it’s like the start of a new definition. (During the said year), the unemployment rate was above eight percent, while the underemployment rate was 25 percent. This was in April 2005,” he added.

    The actual number of unemployed persons fell to 2.05 million in October 2019, from 2.203 million a year ago. However, despite the decline in the underemployment rate, actual underemployed persons went up to 5.615 million from 5.502 million in October 2018.

    By the PSA’s definition, 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 are considered underemployed.

    “The numbers actually is due to the higher labor force participation rate, so the number of individuals who participated in the labor force in October 2019 increased. That’s why while the percentage actually decreased, the number is relatively higher compared to last year,” Mapa said.

    The labor force participation rate improved to 61.5 percent from 60.6 percent a year ago, which the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said is mainly accounted for by the increase in participation rate among women, after four years of decline.

    The employment rate likewise rose to 95.5 percent, from 94.9 percent in October 2018.

    This rate is the highest in all previous October rounds of the survey since 2009.