10.4M Filipinos jobless, optimism dips in March – SWS poll

MANILA, Philippines – Over 10 million Filipinos were jobless in the first quarter of 2017, according to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

The survey, conducted from March 25 to 28 among 1,200 respondents, also showed that the optimism on job availability declined in the same period.

The results showed that 22.9% of respondents were jobless. This is 2.2 percentage points below the 25.1% (11.2 million Filipinos) recorded in the December 2016 poll.

SWS clarified, however, that its definition of "joblessness" differs from the government's concept of "unemployment."

SWS defines joblessness as having no job at present and looking for a job. It excludes those not working, as well as those without a job but not looking for one, such as housewives and students.

The latest joblessness rate consists of the following:

The March survey put the adult labor force participation rate at 72.2% (45.5 million adults), hardly changed from December's 72.1% (44.8 million adults).

Weaker optimism

The survey also showed lower net optimism on job prospects in the next 12 months.

Filipinos who believe there will be more jobs in the next year dipped from 48% in December to 44% in March. This, however, is still considered a "high" rating.

Those who believe there will be fewer jobs in the same period increased to 15% from December's 12%; while those who said there will be no difference hardly changed from December's 28% to 27% in March.

This, in turn, yielded a "high" +29 net optimism on job availability, 8 points down from December's "very high" +37.

SWS uses the following classification for net optimism:

Despite the decline in net optimism, Malacañang welcomed the poll results, saying it is an "affirmation" of the Duterte administration's economic efforts.

"The latest SWS survey is an affirmation of the significant strides of the Duterte administration in sustaining the country's robust economic growth and making it inclusive," Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement on Monday, May 1.

"The new roads, bridges, and railways would make the flow of commodities and services cost- and time-efficient, thereby expanding the domestic economy," he added. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email camille.elemia@rappler.com