Unemployment in October lowest in 11 years

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines saw its lowest unemployment rate in 11 years in October, as the services sector continued to drive job generation.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Tuesday, December 13, released its latest Labor Force Survey, showing that the unemployment rate in October registered at 4.7%, the lowest level since April 2005.

The October 2016 unemployment rate also showed an improvement from the 5.6% registered in the same month a year ago.

Meanwhile, the PSA announced that the country's employment rate climbed to 95.3% in October this year, from 94.4% recorded in the same month last year.

Employed persons are classified as either full-time, those who work for 40 hours or more in a week, or part-time, those who work for less than 40 hours in a week.

"Of the total employed persons in October 2016, 65.9% were full-time workers, while 33.3% were part-time workers," the PSA said in its report.

The labor force participation rate slightly increased to 63.6% in October 2016, from 63.3% in the same period a year ago.

Services sector eats big chunk

By industry, the services sector still has the largest share in the employed population, making up 27.9% of it.

The industry sector followed suit, accounting for 17.2% of the total employed in October. (READ: DOLE: 10,532 workers regularized so far under Duterte admin)

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), had said that "our growing economy, which is largely driven by output expansion in the services and industry sectors, has created more and better jobs."

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate – or those who are already working but still looking for more sources of income – inched up to 18% in October from 17.6% in the same month in 2015. This number is equivalent to 7.5 million workers, the PSA said.

Among the unemployed persons in October 2016, the PSA said 64.4% were male.

Of the total unemployed, the age group 15 to 24 years comprised 47.6%, while the age group 25 to 34 comprised 30.1%.

The NEDA chief had said that vulnerable employment remains a concern as the proportion of self-employed and unpaid family workers made up over one-third of the total employed.

"The sluggish decline of vulnerable employment could partly explain why poverty reduction is slow. These workers are less likely to have formal work arrangements and access to social protection. They are also more at risk during crises or shocks," said Pernia. – Rappler.com