Philippine labor

Inflation pushes employed Filipinos to seek more work hours

Ralf Rivas
Inflation pushes employed Filipinos to seek more work hours

MEN AT WORK. Workers at a construction site in Manila, Philippines.

In this economy, one job may not be enough

MANILA, Philippines – Persistent high prices are pushing more Filipinos to seek additional jobs to make ends meet, the latest figures of the Philippine Statistics Authority disclosed on Tuesday, November 8, showed.

The Philippines’ underemployment rate worsened to 15.4% in September from 14.2% in the same month a year ago, equivalent to some 882,000 people seeking additional income.

Underemployment has been rising for five consecutive months, while inflation has risen to nearly a 14-year high of 7.7%. (READ: 5 charts showing Philippines’ inflation misery)

The high underemployment figures are somewhat masked by the country’s declining unemployment rate, dipping to a low of 5% from the previous year’s 8.9%.

The average weekly hours worked by employed persons was estimated at 39.6 hours in September, lower than the August number of 40.5 hours, and September 2020’s 40.2 hours.

Some 2.2 million Filipinos have joined the workforce, as the economy reopened. But most underemployed Filipinos have reported that their companies are implementing variable work hours.

Most of those who have worked over 48 hours in a week said they needed to earn more, while others said their employers required them to add more working hours.

“Ensuring food security remains as our top priority. In the immediate term, government is providing targeted cash transfer as well as fuel and crop subsidies to help protect the purchasing power of Filipinos and reduce the incidence of invisible underemployment among low-income households,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan. –

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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.