2.9 M Filipinos jobless, unemployment rate down to 7.2%—NSO
MANILA, Philippines—The number of jobless Filipinos remained at about 2.9 million as of January, but when compared year-on-year, the unemployment rate actually eased to 7.2 percent from 7.4 percent in the same month of 2011, the National Statistics Office said Thursday.
This is due to the similar growth of the labor force – or the number of people 15 years old and even older who have jobs or are looking for jobs or additional work – and the number of those who are employed.
Based on the NSO’s latest Labor Force Survey (LFS), the number of economically active Filipinos reached 40.3 million in January from 39.2 million a year earlier.
At the same time, the number of people who have jobs rose to 37.4 million from 36.3 million.
While the figures showed an increase of 1.1 million people in both cases, the result is a higher rate of employment and a lower rate of unemployment.
According to Socioeconomic Planning Secetary Cayetano W. Paderanga Jr., the Philippines enjoys a lower unemployment rate than the United States, which registered at 8.3 percent in January.
But Paderanga said in statement, this is because the character of our economy is different from those of developed nations.
“In the Philippines, there are many jobs that ordinarily in developed countries would not be thought of as work,” he explained.
“Our problem, however, is that many of the employed are working in the informal sector, where the income levels are really quite low,” he added. “We would like to produce more work in the formal sector.”
Results of the January LFS show that more than half or 52.7 percent (some 21.2 million) of those employed are working in the services sector.
The largest employed workforce in the services sector – representing 7.8 million or 19.3 percent of total employed — were in wholesale and retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles.
Workers in the agriculture sector numbered 13.1 million, representing 32.6 percent of those employed. The industry sector engaged 5.9 million workers or 17.4 percent of total.
Paderanga earlier this month said the improved performance of the labor market in 2011 bolsters the optimism for a better economy this year.
He said that in 2011, a total of 1.156 million Filipinos joined the ranks of the employed, “largely on the strength of the continued growth in services and the recovery in agriculture, although there was a slowdown in the industry sector.”
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