Unemployment rate hits 27% in Q4

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The country’s unemployment rate hit 27 percent –equivalent to 12.4 million jobless Filipinos – in the last quarter of 2014, the latest survey made by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.

According to the SWS, the latest jobless rate was higher than the 22.9 percent – equivalent to an estimated 10.4 million Filipinos – recorded in the third quarter of last year.

The fourth quarter adult joblessness rate consisted of those who resigned or voluntarily left their old jobs (14 percent, or 6.5 million adults), those who involuntarily lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control – previous contracts not renewed, employers closed operation, and were laid off – (nine percent, or 4.3 million adults), and those who were first-time job-seekers (three percent or 1.5 million adults).

The SWS poll was conducted from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 involving using 1,800 adults nationwide as respondents.

Of those retrenched, six percent consisted of those whose previous contracts were not renewed (from four percent in September), and two percent who were laid off (from one percent), and two percent whose employers shut operations (same as the previous period).

The proportion of those who quit rose by two points from 12 percent in September. Those who were retrenched also increased by two points from seven percent, while first-time job seekers, “hardly moved”, staying at three percent.

Joblessness rose across most age segments except among the youth (18 to 24 years old), the SWS said.

It rose to 32 percent from 30 percent among those aged 25 to 34, to 22 percent from 18 percent for the 35 to 44 age group and to 19 percent from 15 percent among those aged at least 45 years.

By gender, unemployment among women “rose sharply” to 41.7 percent from 33.2 percent, the SWS said, noting this was the highest since 42.5 percent in August 2012.

Joblessness among men “barely moved” in December, rising to 15.6 percent from 14.9 percent in September.

The fourth quarter results brought 2014’s joblessness rate average to 25.4 percent, slightly higher than the 2013’s annual average of 25.2 percent.

Quarterly joblessness was at a record-high 34.4 percent in March 2012, and has been hovering between 21.7 and 29.4 percent since, the pollster said.

But even as joblessness among Filipinos worsened, the same survey found more Filipinos who are optimistic that work would become available in the next 12 months.

Net optimism on job availability increased by four points to +16 from the +12 recorded in the third quarter, but stayed within “fair” category.

 Thirty-six percent (from 33 percent in September) of respondents said the number of available jobs in the next 12 months will increase, 32 percent (from 33 percent) said it will not change, and 20 percent (from 22 percent) said the number of positions available will decrease.

The SWS classifies net optimism on job availability scores of +30 and above as “very high”; +20 to +29, “high”; +10 to +19, “fair; +1 to +9, “mediocre”; zero to -9, “low”; and -10 and below, “very low.”

SWS said its definition of joblessness differs from that used by the government for its Labor Force Survey.

SWS respondents are at least 18 years old compared to the lower official boundary of 15 years of age. In the survey, SWS defines joblessness as those who have no work at present and looking for a job. Those not working, without a job but not looking for one (housewives, students, etc.) are excluded.


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