Unemployment eases to 3.6% in November | Inquirer News

Unemployment eases to 3.6% in November

Hiring Gen Zs? They shun ‘toxic’ workplaces – survey

A woman goes to a job fair in Marikina City in July 2022. (File photo by LYN RILLON / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — The number of unemployed Filipinos dropped to an 18-year low in November last year as more jobs were created during the holiday season, although a prolonged dry spell and the state’s decision to phase out the traditional jeepneys are threatening to throw more people into joblessness.

A nationwide survey of 11,233 households showed there were 1.83 million Filipinos who were either jobless or out of business in November 2023, down from 2.09 million recorded in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday.


That translated to an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, down from 4.2 percent in the preceding month.


At a press conference, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said this was the lowest reading since state statisticians adopted in 2005 a new definition of “unemployment” that covers those in the labor force who are not actively seeking work because of temporary illness or disability, awaiting results of previous job applications or are tired and believe that there is no work available.

“Brisk economic activities continued to drive down the country’s unemployment rate,” Domini Velasquez, chief economist at China Banking Corp., said in a commentary.

“In detail, we have observed a further rebalancing of the job market, with gains largely in the services and agriculture sectors,” she added.

Data showed that the industry that posted the biggest year-on-year increase in employment was agriculture and forestry, which added 1.24 million jobs in November. This was followed by construction (+453,000) and transportation and storage (+308,000).

But Velasquez warned that a prolonged El Niño weather phenomenon and the government’s decision to phase out old jeepneys may derail the local labor market’s recovery by hurting the agriculture and transportation sectors.

“In 2024, we expect job gains to largely come from the services sector as the country benefits from lower inflation to support consumption and increasing tourist arrivals. The industry sector will likely be a mix of improving construction outlook and moderating manufacturing activities,” she said.


Low quality jobs

While more Filipinos were able to find work, the seasonal jobs created by the holiday rush were of low quality.

Figures showed there were 5.79 million employed persons who looked for more working hours in November to augment their income, up from 5.60 million in October.

That yielded an underemployment rate of 11.7 percent, unchanged from the previous month.

The PSA’s Mapa said underemployment was prevalent among those who are self-employed, the number of which rose to 14.21 million in November, from 13.27 million in the previous month.

At the same time, the easing of joblessness happened amid an increase in job seekers in the country.

According to the PSA, 51.47 million people were part of the nation’s labor force, which represents people age 15 years old and above who actively looked for work during a period.

That was equivalent to a labor force participation rate (LFPR) of 65.9 percent in November, higher than October’s 63.9 percent.

However, the November LFPR was markedly lower than the 67.5 percent recorded a year ago.

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Mapa said the decline was mainly due to reduced participation of young people and women in the labor force because of family responsibilities, schooling, and age-related factors.

TAGS: Philippine Statistics Authority, Unemployment

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