Jobless rate eases in October, but inflation sends Filipinos looking for more work

Ian Nicolas Cigaral - Philstar.com
Construction work continues at a site in Caloocan City on December 6, 2022.
STAR / Jesse Bustos

MANILA, Philippines — The proportion of Filipinos either unemployed or out of business continued to drop in October, but the jobs being generated are low quality and do not pay enough amid rising cost of living.

A nationwide survey of 43,641 households showed there were 2.60 million jobless Filipinos in October, translating to an unemployment rate of 4.5%, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported Wednesday.

That was lower compared to the 2.60 million unemployed persons, or 5.2% rate, recorded in July, which had a comparable sample size to the October survey.

“The gains are tied to the reopening of the economy, mirroring the strong GDP growth to close out the year,” Nicholas Mapa, senior economist at ING Bank in Manila, said.

But Mapa said there were “troubling” figures from the latest jobs report. For one, the actual number of employed Filipinos fell to 47.11 million in October, from 47.39 million in July.

The drop in unemployment figures was also aided by a decrease in the number of Filipinos who actively searched for jobs during the month, Mapa added. Survey results showed there were 49.35 million Filipinos aged 15 and above who were part of the labor force in October, down from 49.99 million in July.

Meanwhile, more people looked for additional working hours to augment their income amid boiling inflation. State statisticians reported that the number of underemployed Filipinos rose to 6.67 million in October, up by 130,000 compared to the July figure.

READ: Inflation soars to 8% in November, beating forecasts | Filipinos unhappy with Marcos' handling of inflation problem — survey

Leonardo Lanzona, labor economist at Ateneo De Manila University, said the latest labor statistics show the impact of inflation on the local jobs market.

“The issue is that workers seem to be dropping out of the labor force.  It seems that jobs have becomes less plentiful in the main sectors of the economy like agriculture and retail trade, sectors that can have bearing in light of the recent inflation,” Lanzona said. — with reports from Ramon Royandoyan




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