Philippine unemployment rate

Filipinos seek more work hours as unemployment, underemployment rise in July 2023

Lance Spencer Yu

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Filipinos seek more work hours as unemployment, underemployment rise in July 2023

CAPITAL. Metro Manila's skyline.

Alecs Ongcal

‘They feel that they need extra hours pa or a new job kasi hindi ganun kalaki ‘yung income,’ national statistician Dennis Mapa says about the more than 7 million underemployed Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines – How have Filipinos coped with persistent inflation and the rising prices of commodities like rice? They’ve already begun working more hours on average than they did last year – and nearly 16% of workers still feel like they need more income.

The latest July Labor Force Survey shows that 7,104,00 workers (15.9%) consider themselves “underemployed” – meaning that they either need more hours in their current job, a new job with more working hours, or an additional job to supplement their income.

This figure is higher than the 12.0% in June 2023 and the 13.8% in the same period last year. In fact, it’s the highest underemployment rate since November 2021, when it reached 16.6%.

Notably, underemployment increased the most in the “invisible underemployed” category – or the people who are already working for more than 40 hours but still feel the need to bring in more income.

Ang malaking nagdagdag ay ‘yung invisible underemployment. May dagdag siya ng 1.25 million (The big increase came in invisible underemployment. It grew by 1.25 million workers),” said National Statistician and Philippine Statistics Authority head Dennis Mapa.

“They feel that they need extra hours pa or a new job kasi hindi ganun kalaki ‘yung income (because their income isn’t that big),” he added in a press conference on Friday, September 8.

Filipinos are also working more hours a week on average than a year ago. Mean weekly work hours were measured at 42.3 hours in July 2023, higher than the 36.9 hours in April 2023 and the 40.5 hours in the same period last year.

Unemployment rate rises

The unemployment rate in the Philippines also crept up to 4.8% in July 2023, higher than the 4.5% in April 2023, but better than the 5.2% reported in July 2022. This translates to about 2,273,000 unemployed individuals across the country. 

Comparing it on a year-on-year basis, there was a 2.8 million drop in employment, according to Mapa. Most of this – around 1.79 million – was due to Filipinos shifting from work to “household family duties.”

Pwedeng nag-aalaga ng kapatid o anak plus ‘yung sa mga household chores. Doon sila (They could be taking care of their sibling or their child, along with doing household chores. That’s where they are),” Mapa said. “They are outside of the labor force.”

Meanwhile, around 689,000 said that they were either too young or too old to work, and 181,000 reported that they could not find any work.  –

1 comment

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  1. ET

    Woe to the unemployed and underemployed at a time of the Rice Price Crisis and incoming Energy Crisis (and perhaps Water Crisis, etc.) under a government riding on a Corruption-Disinformation-Repression vehicle, which is running on the highway called: Political Patronage and Political Dynasty national highway.

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.