JOBLESSNESS, or the number of people without jobs, is down to 17.5 percent or an estimated 7.9 million in the last quarter of 2019, a survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) from December 13 to 16 showed.
The survey, which involved 1,200 adult respondents nationwide and had a margin of error of ±3 percent, described the jobless as people who voluntarily left their old jobs, are seeking jobs for the first time, or were retrenched or lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control.
The labor force covered by the survey includes adults or those aged 18 years and above, who are presently with a job or looking for a job.
The SWS said that in December last year, 17.5 percent of the labor force, or 7.9 million people, were without jobs or were jobless (down by 4 points from the 21.5 percent or an estimated 10 million in September).
The 17.5 percent is composed of 8.1 percent who voluntarily left their old jobs (estimated 3.7 million), 3.5 percent who were first-time job seekers (estimated 1.6 million), and 5.9 percent who were retrenched (estimated 2.7 million).
Those who were retrenched were composed of 3.7 percent (or 1.7 million) whose contracts ended and no longer renewed, 1.3 percent (or 613,000) who were laid off, and 0.9 percent (or 399,000) whose previous employers closed operations.
The figure is the lowest since the 15.7 percent recorded in December 2017, and the lowest joblessness rating in 2019.
SWS said the 17.5 percent joblessness rate was due to decreases of 10 points in Metro Manila (15 percent from 24.5 percent), and 8 points in Luzon (17.3 percent from 25 percent), combined with increases of 4 points in the Visayas (15.7 percent from 11.8 percent) and 1 point in Mindanao (20.7 percent from 19.9 percent) .
It added that joblessness was at 15.3 percent (down from 23 percent September 2019) in urban areas, while rural joblessness was at 19.6 percent (down from 20 percent).
More females were recorded to be jobless at 31 percent (unchanged from September), while males who had no jobs went down to 8 percent (from 15 percent).
Among the different age groups, joblessness was highest among the 18-24 year-olds at 31.8 percent (from 44.9 percent), followed by those between 25-34 year-olds with 20.7 percent (down from 30.9 percent), between 35-44 year-olds with 19.2 percent (up from 17.3 percent), and among 45 year-olds and above with 11.8 percent (down from 14 percent).
SWS also found that majority of the Filipinos or 53 percent are optimistic that there will be more jobs in the next 12 months (unchanged from September), while 12 percent are pessimistic and said that there will be fewer jobs in the next 12 months (down from 13 percent), and 24 percent (up from 21 percent) said there will be no changes in the number of jobs available.
This yielded a net job optimism score (percent of more jobs minus percent of fewer jobs) of an excellent +40 (unchanged from September).
SWS classifies job optimism scores +40 and above as “Excellent”; +30 to +39 as “Very High”; +20 to +29 as “High”, +10 to +19 as “Fair”; +1 to +9 as “Mediocre”; –9 to 0 as “Low”; and –10 and below as “Very Low.”
It also considers the movement from one classification to another as either an “upgrade” or “downgrade”.