Philippine unemployment rate

Job quality improves, but unemployment slightly up in December 2022

Ralf Rivas

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Job quality improves, but unemployment slightly up in December 2022

BUSINESS HUB. A view of the Makati City skyline on June 2, 2022.

Mau Victa/Rappler

Underemployment rate goes down to 12.6%, but unemployment is slightly up to 4.3%

MANILA, Philippines – The quality of jobs in the Philippines marginally improved amid the holiday rush, but the country’s unemployment rate increased slightly in December from the previous month, latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.

Based on the December 2022 Labor Force Survey, the unemployment rate went up to 4.3% in December from 4.2% in November. The December figure translates to 2.22 million jobless Filipinos, slightly more than the 2.18 million in November or roughly 43,000 more people unemployed, the PSA said.

On the plus side, the Philippines’ underemployment rate in December 2022 slid to 12.6% from 14.4% in November. The latest figure is also lower than the 14.7% posted in December 2021.

This translates to about 6.2 million employed Filipinos in December 2022 who expressed the desire to have additional work hours or have a job with longer hours. The figure is lower than the 7.16 million last November and 6.81 million in December 2021.

However, compared to a year ago, unemployment fell to 4.3% in December 2022 from 6.6%, which translates to 1.1 million fewer unemployed compared to December 2021.

In a statement, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) attributed this to the economy’s reopening following prolonged restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As the economy further reopened, 1.7 million more Filipinos joined the labor force, raising the labor force participation rate to 66.4 percent from 65.1 percent in the previous year. The corresponding expansion in the services and industry sectors resulted in an additional 2.7 million employed persons year-on-year, bringing total employment to 49.0 million Filipinos,” the NEDA said after the release of the latest Labor Force Survey.

“Top employment contributors in December 2022 include wholesale and retail trade, other service activities, and accommodation and food service activities, which were boosted by the full resumption of commercial activities, pent-up demand, and holiday spending. However, these were tempered by losses in agriculture due to weather disturbances and the spread of infectious diseases among livestock and poultry,” the country’s economic planning agency said.

Average weekly hours in December increased to 40.3 from 39.3 and 39.7 hours in November 2022 and December 2021, respectively.

The services sector continued to lead all sectors having the highest share of employed persons, with 58.9% of the total employed persons in December. Agriculture and industry accounted for 24% and 17.1%, respectively. –

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.