Jobless rate falls to 10-year low
The jobless rate fell below 5 percent for the first time in a decade, as the strong economic growth created more jobs this year, the National Economic and Development Authority said Tuesday.
Results of the Labor Force Survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that unemployment rate eased to 4.7 percent in October from 5.6 percent a year ago. It was also lower than 5.4 percent registered in July.
The PSA said about 41.7 million Filipinos were employed in October, translating into a 95.3-percent employment rate―the highest in all previous October rounds of the LFS since 2006.
“This means that the growth of our economy is becoming more inclusive as it engages more and more Filipinos to participate in the labor market,” said Economic Planning Secretary and Neda director-general Ernesto Pernia.
“With the decrease of unemployment in October 2016, our implied full-year unemployment rate will be 5.5 percent, exceeding the government target for 2016 of 6.5 to 6.7 percent,” Pernia said.
About 2 million Filipinos were unemployed as of October, data showed.
The services sector remained the top employment contributor with a share of 54.9 percent or 22.9 million of the total employed. The industry sector accounted for 17.2 percent or 7.2 million, driven largely by the strong growth in manufacturing and construction.
Unemployment rate among the youth continued to decline in October to 11.6 percent, also a record low for all October rounds of the LFS since 2006.
The share of inactive youth―those who are neither studying nor employed―has consistently been declining in the past four years and dropped to 20.5 percent in October 2016.
“While this shows progress, it is important to note that the unemployment rate of the youth is still more than twice the national unemployment rate and thrice the unemployment rate of 25 to 54 age group. This shows that we need to equip our youth with the right skills and experience to be able to compete with seasoned workers,” said Pernia.
He said while unemployment rate dropped, the underemployment rate increased to 18 percent in October from 17.6 percent recorded in the same period a year ago. This was also 0.7-percentage-point higher than 17.3 percent in July.
Neda said underemployment was prevalent among those working in private households and those employed in family business.
Meanwhile, the number of stable wage and salary employment grew to 25.3 million or 60.8 percent of total employed persons in October 2016. This was the highest for all October rounds since 2006.
Private establishments employed nearly 80 percent of these workers, while the public sector employed just 13 percent.
“The increase in stable wage and salary employment reflects our economy’s strength and the result of the government’s clamp down on unlawful contractualization,” Pernia said.
He said more than a third of those employed were still vulnerable, citing that a large portion of those employed, especially in the agriculture sector, were susceptible to external shocks and economic downturns.
“We must accelerate the improvement of local infrastructure and facilitate the linkaging of the sectors, primarily between the agriculture and industry sectors, to help raise the productivity of farmers and increase the value of their products,” Pernia said.