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Unemployment persists despite stellar PH growth

MANILA, Philippines - After 3 quarters of higher-than-expected economic growth, the country's unemployment and underemployment rates remained at high levels, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO).

In its latest Labor Force Survey (LFS), the NSO said the country's unemployment rate declined to 6.8% in October from 7% in July. This, however, was still higher than the 6.4% rate recorded in October 2011.

The country's underemployment rate, on the other hand, dropped to 19% in October 2012, after registering a high of 22.7% in July 2012. The October figures was almost the same as what was seen in the same month last year.

In absolute terms, the number of unemployed Filipinos increased to 2.8 million in October 2012 from 2.6 million in October 2011. 

The number of underemployed Filipinos or those looking for longer work hours or additional employment, declined to 7.2 million in October 2012 from 7.4 million in October 2011.

"Majority (56.2%) of the total underemployed persons were visibly underemployed or working for less than 40 hours during the reference week. Those working for 40 hours or more accounted for 42.2%. Less than one-half (44.3%) of the underemployed were working in the agriculture sector and around two-fifth (40.5%) were working in the services sector. The underemployed in the industry sector accounted for 15.2%," the NSO said. 

"NCR registered the highest unemployment rate at 11% whereas Cagayan Valley recorded the lowest at 2.4%. Among the unemployed persons, there were more males (62.1%) than females (37.9%).  Most (48.5%) of the unemployed persons belong to age group 15 to 24 years," it added.

Data sourced from the National Statistics Office. Photo by AFP.

Data sourced from the National Statistics Office. Photo by AFP.

The NSO data showed that the country's employment rate was already on the uptrend as it reached 93.2% in October 2012. It can be noted, however, that this was still lower than the employment rate a year ago.

The NSO reported that there were 37.7 million Filipinos with jobs in October 2012, against 38.6 million in October 2011.

"Workers belonging to the services sector comprised the largest proportion with 52.6% of the total employed persons. Of the employed persons in the services sector, those engaged in wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles accounted for the highest percentage (18.7% of the total employed)," the NSO said.

"Workers in the agriculture sector appeared to be the second largest group with an estimate of 32.3% of the total employed. Only 15.2% of the total employed were working in the industry sector," it added. - Rappler.com