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Lowest in 10 years : Jobless rate eases to 4.7% in Oct

The Labor Force Survey for October 2016 showed the unemployment rate in the country dropping to a 10-year low of 4.7 percent in October, down from 5.6 percent in October 2015. File photo

MANILA, Philippines – The number of unemployed Filipinos fell further in October as more jobs were created in the services and industry sectors, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported yesterday.

The Labor Force Survey for October 2016 showed the unemployment rate in the country dropping to a 10-year low of 4.7 percent in October, down from 5.6 percent in October 2015.

The employment rate, meanwhile, rose to 95.3 percent to reach 41.7 million in October, up from 94.4 percent in the same period last year.

Employed persons were classified as wage and salary workers, self-employed workers without any paid employee, employers in family businesses, and unpaid family workers.

During the survey period, the country had a labor force of 68.7 million, up from 66.6 million last year. This comprises those who are employed and those 15 years and above who have the capability to work.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the jobless rate indicates economic growth is being felt by more Filipinos.

“This means that the growth of our economy is becoming more inclusive as it engages more and more Filipinos to participate in the labor market,” he said.

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the services sector remained the top contributor of employment during the reference period with a share of 54.9 percent (22.9 million) of the jobs held in October.

The industry sector, meanwhile, accounted for 17.2 percent (7.2 million) of the jobs during the period because of the strong growth in manufacturing and construction.

Pernia said with the lower unemployment rate in October, the full year unemployment rate is expected to be at 5.5 percent, well below the government’s target of 6.5 to 6.7 percent for this year.

Unemployment among the youth also continued to decline in October at 11.6 percent, a record low since 2006.

“While this shows progress, it is important to note that the unemployment rate of the youth is still more than twice the national unemployment rate and thrice the unemployment rate of 25 to 54 age group. This shows that we need to equip our youth with the right skills and experience to be able to compete with seasoned workers,” said Pernia.

While the number of Filipinos with jobs rose, not all are gainfully employed as seen in the rise to 18 percent the underemployment rate in October 2016 from 17.6 percent in the same period last year. These are workers who want to have additional hours of work in their present job, have an additional job, or have a new job with longer work hours.

Meanwhile, the number of stable wage and salary earners grew to 25.3 million or 60.8 percent of total employed persons in October 2016. This is the highest for all October rounds since 2006. Private establishments employed nearly 80 percent of these workers, while the public sector employed just 13 percent.

“The increase in stable wage and salary employment reflects our economy’s strength and the result of the government’s clamp-down on unlawful contractualization,” said Pernia.

He said attention must be given to workers in the agriculture sector, which made up 28 percent of the total employed in October. Jobs growth in the sector is stunted by external shocks and economic downturns.

“We must accelerate the improvement of local infrastructure and facilitate the linkaging of the sectors, primarily between the agriculture and industry sectors, to help raise the productivity of farmers and increase the value of their products,” Pernia said.

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