Philippine unemployment rate

Unemployment hits 2-decade low as construction, agriculture post gains

Ralf Rivas

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Unemployment hits 2-decade low as construction, agriculture post gains


Employment rate in December 2023 stood at 96.3%, the highest since 2005

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s unemployment rate hit a near two-decade low in December 2023, driven mainly by gains in construction and agriculture.

Unemployment hits 2-decade low as construction, agriculture post gains

The Philippine Statistics Authority on Wednesday, February 7, reported that the unemployment rate stood at 3.1% in December, significantly lower than the 4.3% recorded in the same period in 2022. This represents a year-on-year decrease of 617,000 unemployed persons.

Employment rate stood at 96.9%, the highest since 2005, according to National Statistician Dennis Mapa.

The top five sectors in terms of annual increase in employment were the following:

  • Construction: 777,000
  • Agriculture and forestry: 715,000
  • Accommodation and food service activities: 498,000
  • Transportation and storage: 174,000
  • Human health and social work activities: 140,000

Meanwhile, the following sectors posted the highest annual decreases in employment:

  • Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles: -660,000
  • Administrative and support service activities: -250,000
  • Fishing and aquaculture: -159,000
  • Financial and insurance activities: -132,000
  • Arts and entertainment: -16,000

The underemployment rate, which is a measure of job quality, improved to 11.9% in December 2023 from 12.6% in December 2022. The decline corresponds to 186,000 fewer Filipinos who are employed but are looking for more hours of work.

Mapa said employment is also historically higher in the fourth quarter due to the holidays.

Wage and salary workers accounted for the largest share of employed persons with 62.7% of the total employed persons in December. This was followed by self-employed persons at 27.4% and unpaid family workers at 7.8%. –

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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.