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Joblessness down to 21.4% in Q4

/ 12:54 AM February 10, 2016
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JOBLESSNESS among Filipinos decreased to 21.4 percent or about 9.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, down from 23.7 percent or over 10 million the previous quarter, according to a survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The fourth-quarter joblessness rate brought the 2015 full-year average rate to 21.9 percent, down 3.5 points from the 2014 annual average of 25.4 percent. In 2010, when President Aquino assumed office, the average full-year joblessness in the country was 22.5 percent. It was 23.6 percent in 2011, 28.8 percent in 2012 and 25.2 percent in 2013.

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The SWS said the 2015 full-year average of 21.9 percent was the lowest in 11 years or since 2004 when it was at 15.8 percent.

Malacañang welcomed the results of the survey which was conducted from Dec. 5 to 8 among 1,200 respondents. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said the SWS survey results “affirm our collective progress under ‘daang matuwid.’”

“Over the past five and a half years, the Aquino administration has made significant strides not only in terms of economic growth but also toward greater inclusivity,” Lacierda said.

“Clearly, whether by working to attract more investments or by accelerating the resolution of our job-skills mismatch through agencies like the Department of Labor and Employment and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the government remains committed to continually improving the lives of our bosses,” referring to the Filipino people, he asserted.

The SWS definition of joblessness covers respondents aged 18 and above who are “without a job at present and looking for a job.” This excluded those not looking for work like housewives, students and retired or disabled persons.

The SWS also reported an improvement in job market optimism.

According to the survey, 45 percent of adults expect the number of available jobs to increase over the next 12 months. Only 16 percent expect fewer jobs while 27 percent said there would be no change.

The SWS report noted that in December, adult labor force participation rate was at 69.7 percent (an estimated 42.6 million adults), barely changed from 69.4 percent (an estimated 42.4 million adults) in September.

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Results of the survey also showed that fewer adult Filipinos were retrenched in December than in the previous quarter.

The nationwide joblessness rate in December included 8 percent who were retrenched (estimated 3.4 million adults), from 11.7 percent in September.

Across age groups, joblessness among aged 25 to 34 fell from 31 percent in September to 25 percent in December but this was offset by the rise in joblessness among aged 18 to 24, from 51 percent in September to 57 percent in December. It was at 22 percent among aged 35 to 44 in December, unchanged from the previous quarter while it was 15 percent among aged 45 and over, hardly moving from 14 percent in September.

By gender, joblessness fell among women, from 33.9 percent in September to 31.4 percent in December and among men, from 15.9 percent in September to 13.8 percent in September.

The government’s latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) puts the official unemployment rate at 5.6 percent in October last year. The government uses the term unemployment in the LFS to refer to persons 15 years and over and who are not working, looking for work and available for work. With a report from Inquirer Research

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