MANILA, Philippines – The number of unemployed Filipinos fell to 2.6 million in October from 2.76 million a year ago, according to the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) report released by the National Statistics Office (NSO).
This translated to an unemployment rate of 6.5%, lower than the 6.8% recorded in October 2012. The rate is a key indicator of whether or not economic growth is trickling down. (READ: Philippines needs to create 14M jobs till 2016)
In a statement, National Economic and Development Authority Director General Arsenio Balisacan said the decline was due to robust hiring in the industry and services sectors.
“The increase in employment in these sectors, propped up by wholesale and retail trade in the services sector, more than offset the decline in the agriculture sector,” he said.
He said the rate could have dropped because workers are satisfied with their current income levels.
Based on the LFS report, the services sector accounted for the most number of jobs with a share of 53.4%, up from 52.6% last year. Industry accounted for 15.2%, almost unchanged from 15.1%, and agriculture accounted for 31.4%, down from 32.3%.
Among regions, Metro Manila or the National Capital Region (NCR) recorded the highest unemployment rate of 10.2%. Next was Central Luzon and CALABARZON with unemployment rates of 7.8% and 8.1%, respectively.
The underemployment rate, in the meantime, also fell to 17.9% in October from 19% last year. Underemployed individuals are those working but are still looking for additional jobs or work hours.
In contrast, the country’s employment rate rose to 93.5% from 93.2%. There were 37.73 million individuals with jobs in October, higher than last year’s figure of 37.67 million.
The labor force, composed of those aged 15 years and above, reached 63.1 million in October.
Balisacan said NEDA will raise employment targets under the Philippine Development Plan. He said underemployment in the agriculture sector must be addressed.
He said the plan will also tackle how industries can be made more competitive so additional and high-quality jobs can be created. (READ: Jobless growth? It will take time, says NEDA chief)
“There is a need to sustain efforts that facilitate the substantial creation of decent and quality employment. Further, we need to implement disaster risk-management to mitigate the impact of weather disturbances, particularly in agriculture,” Balisacan stressed.
“We need to intensify the implementation of measures that will increase agricultural productivity through the use of appropriate technology. We also need to strengthen the link of agriculture with the manufacturing sector to create more quality employment such as in the agro-industry,” he added. – Rappler.com