MANILA – The country's unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in September this year from 5 percent in the same month last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Wednesday.
In a briefing, National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the number of unemployed Filipinos during the month fell to 2.26 million from 2.5 million in the same period last year.
The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR), meanwhile, was at 64.1 percent or about 49.93 million Filipinos aged 15 years and above who were either employed or unemployed.
The LFPR during the month was lower than the 65.2 percent recorded in September 2022.
The PSA also noted a decline in the LFPR among women.
Based on data, female LFPR of 53.4 percent in September 2023 was lower than the 54.8 percent recorded during the same period last year.
Household duties were among the main causes of the decrease.
The country’s employment rate was estimated at 95.5 percent, higher than the recorded 95 percent in the same month last year.
In terms of magnitude, the number of employed persons 15 years old and above was recorded at 47.67 million.
Mapa said major industries with the largest increase in employment are accommodation and food service activities (+608,000), administrative and support service activities (+535,000), construction (+481,000), transportation and storage (+255,000), and fishing and aquaculture (+193,000).
However, employment losses were observed in the manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and agriculture and forestry.
The manufacturing sector lost an estimated 888,000 jobs, the wholesale and retail trade sector lost 722,000 jobs, and the agriculture and forestry sector lost 649,000 jobs.
In a separate statement, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said adverse weather conditions, along with increased input and borrowing costs, resulted in job losses in the wholesale and retail trade and agriculture sectors.
The number of underemployed persons, or employed persons who expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or to have an additional or new job with longer hours of work was estimated at 5.11 million, translating to an underemployment rate of 10.7 percent.
This was lower than the 15.4 percent reported in September last year.
NEDA said the government remains committed to pursuing high-quality job generation for Filipinos as labor market indicators continue to improve.
“The government is committed to improving the investment climate of the country to attract businesses that generate high-quality employment. We will continue to pursue enhancements to existing policies to address concerns in investments, particularly in infrastructure development in areas outside the National Capital Region,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.
The national government will also build the resilience of the economy, he added.
“In the coming months, the agriculture sector will likely be adversely affected by the strong El Niño. Guided by the El Niño National Action Plan, the government will implement more programs to develop a more resilient agriculture sector. This will help minimize employment losses in the sector,” he said.
Balisacan said digitalization and promoting innovation in business, especially in MSMEs, would open up more opportunities for high-quality and high-paying jobs for Filipinos.
“This will be supported by expanding training and re-skilling programs for workers to meet the needs of these innovative business,” he said.
Balisacan assured that the government is making efforts to address the declining labor force participation rate among women.
“To further reduce barriers to workforce participation, we will continue to promote programs that encourage the adoption of wider alternative work arrangements, allowing people to remain productive from the comfort of their own homes,” he said. (PNA)