At least 1.5 million Filipinos have joined the ranks of the unemployed between September and December, according to a recent survey of the Social Weather Stations.
The 4th Quarter 2011 Social Weather Survey, conducted from Dec. 3 to 7 and first published in the BusinessWorld newspaper, said that unemployment rose to 24 percent, or an estimated 9.7 million, from 20.2 percent (8.2 million) three months earlier.
The figure includes those who were retrenched (10 percent), quit their jobs (9 percent) or joined the throngs of jobseekers for the first time (5 percent).
Those retrenched consisted of 7 percent whose previous contract was not renewed, 2 percent whose employer closed operations, and 1 percent who were terminated.
SWS defines unemployment as those respondents 18 years old and above who are not working and at the same time are looking for work. Those not looking for work such as housewives, students and retired or disabled persons were not included.
This definition is different from the official definition of the National Statistical Coordination Board which include all persons who are 15 years and over and are reported as: 1) without work and currently available for work and seeking work; or 2) without work and currently available for work but not seeking work.
Data from the National Statistics Office Labor Force Survey has placed the official unemployment rate at 6.4 percent, or an estimated 2.6 million Filipinos, as of October 2011. The figure is down from 7.1 percent a year before.
The SWS said unemployment hit a record high of 34.2 percent in February 2009. The figure had fallen below 20 percent in only three out of 26 surveys from May 2005 to December 2011. SWS also noted that unemployment was relatively high among women and among the younger members of the labor force, following the pattern in previous surveys. Inquirer Research