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25.7% of Filipinos jobless, says SWS

By: - Researcher / @Inq_Researchers
/ 07:44 PM May 19, 2014

unemploymentMANILA, Philippines—One in every four adult Filipinos is jobless, according to a new Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.

The survey found adult joblessness at 25.7 percent or an estimated 11.5 million Filipinos in March. But this was almost two points lower than the 27.5 percent or 12.1 million jobless in December.

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SWS, however, noted that the latest rating was still way below the record high of 34.4 percent registered in February 2009. It said that adult joblessness had mostly remained over 20 percent since May 2005, except in three instances. The record low was 5.4 percent and was hit in February 1998.

While the number of jobless Filipinos was down by 600,000 in March compared to December last year, optimism on job availability in the next 12 months waned.

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Results of the survey showed that 36 percent of respondents said more jobs would be available, against 23 percent who said there would be fewer jobs, for a net optimism score (percent of more jobs minus percent of fewer jobs) of “fair” plus 13 in March. This is six points lower than the also “fair” plus 19 in December. Those who said there would be no change accounted for 32 percent.

The SWS definition of joblessness covers respondents aged 18 and over who are without jobs at present and are looking for jobs. This excludes those not looking for a job such as housewives, students and retired or disabled persons.

This is different from the official definition of unemployment in the government’s Labor Force Survey (LFS), which includes persons 15 years and over and who are reported not working, looking for work and available for work. Also included are those currently available for work but are not seeking work for reasons such as waiting for results of previous job application, temporary illness, bad weather, waiting for rehire and feeling tired or believe that no work is available.

The government’s latest LFS puts the official unemployment rate at 7.5 percent or an estimated 2.96 million Filipinos in January.

If the availability requirement is included, SWS said that adult joblessness in March would be 17.1 percent or an estimated 6.9 million Filipinos. This consisted of 16.1 percent who were not working, looking for work and available for work and one percent who were not working, not looking for work due to the reasons stated above, but available for work.

“Therefore, among the 11.5 million adults who were jobless and were looking for work, 44 percent were not available for work at present or in the next two weeks,” SWS explained.

By sex, joblessness was from 35.9 percent to 37.8 percent among women while it dropped from 21.2 percent to 16.5 percent among men.

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Across age groups, joblessness decreased from 52 percent to 43 percent among those 18-24 years old. In the 25-34 age bracket, the rate also fell from 33 percent to 31 percent. It was also lower among those aged 45 and above, from 18 percent to 17 percent, while it was up from 25 percent to 26 percent among those aged 35-44.

The nationwide joblessness rate includes those who were retrenched (10.7 percent or 4.8 million), those who resigned (11.4 percent or 5.1 million adults) and first-time job seekers (3.3 percent or 1.5 million).

Those who were retrenched include those whose contracts were not renewed (6.4 percent),  those whose employers closed shop (2.2 percent), and those who were laid off (2 percent).

Those who left their jobs decreased by 2.1 points from 13 percent in December while those who were retrenched was marginally up from 10.4 percent and the number of those seeking jobs for the first time barely changed from 3.5 percent.

The survey, conducted from March 27 to 30, used 1,200 face-to-face interviews nationwide and had a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3 percentage points. It was first published in BusinessWorld.

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