Job fair (File photo)

MANILA – The Philippines has recorded the lowest unemployment rate in 17 years in November 2022, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Friday.

Unemployment rate in November last year declined to 4.2 percent from 4.5 percent in October 2022, and from 6.5 percent in November 2021.

This, as 95.8 percent of the labor force were employed, or a total of 49.71 million Filipinos aged 15 years and above have jobs in November last year.

Labor force participation rate also increased last November after two months of declines since September 2022.

“The strong labor market signifies the steady recovery of our economy,” said National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan in a statement.

He said the country’s labor market is becoming more dynamic because of flexible work arrangements and digitalization that make employment opportunities more accessible for Filipinos, especially to those who are attending to other essential tasks such as parenting and pursing higher education, among others.

On the other hand, underemployment recorded an uptick on a month-on-month basis in November 2022 at 14.4 percent, slightly higher than the 14.2-percent underemployment rate in October 2022 but lower than November 2021 rate of 16.8 percent.

Balisacan said the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 targets to provide high-quality jobs for Filipinos.

“Creating an enabling environment to attract investments that can create more and high-quality employment while improving the employability of Filipinos are among the major strategies to advance economic and social transformation,” he added.

Among the measures under the PDP 2023-2028 to improve the income-earning ability of Filipinos include expanding opportunities for lifelong learning, training and re-training programs and developing the adaptability of the current and future workforce to the changing demands of the labor market.

“The strategies of the PDP 2023-2028 intend to reinvigorate job creation, particularly high-quality jobs. Expanding our pool of high-quality workforce will also support our goal of economic and social transformation to accelerate economic recovery and ensure that it will be inclusive and resilient. This thrust then brings us back on track in empowering every Filipinos to have a matatag, maginhawa at panatag na buhay (strongly rooted, comfortable, and secure life),” Balisacan said.

During the launching of the medium-term plan last month, the country’s chief economist said the government would not only focus on reducing the unemployment rate but it targets to create high-quality jobs to accelerate poverty alleviation. (PNA)