Unemployment rate up by 29.4% – SWS

Ghio Ong, Helen Flores - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The number of jobless Filipinos slightly increased from 26.6 percent in May to 29.4 percent in August, said the recent survey by the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The SWS poll, published in the newspaper BusinessWorld yesterday, showed 12 percent of the unemployed were those who resigned and 13 percent were those who lost their jobs. Five percent were first-time job seekers.

Of those who lost their jobs, 10 percent said their contracts were not renewed, an increase from seven percent in May.

One percent said they were laid off, a decrease from two percent; while two percent said their employers closed shop.

The SWS said joblessness increased among women, from 36.4 percent to 42.5 percent and was slightly up among men – 19.3 percent from 18.9 percent.

It rose by six points among those 35 to 44 years old (to 28.1 percent) and by almost five points among the 18-24 (to 54.8 percent).

It dropped from 21.3 percent to 19.2 percent among those 45 years old and above, and by a point to 30.2 percent for those 25-34.

The SWS said the 29.4-percent unemployment rate is higher than the government’s official unemployment figure of seven percent (2.8 million unemployed) as of July, and may affect some 11.7 percent of Filipinos.

The latest unemployment rate was still lower than the figures in March, which hit 34.4 percent, the survey said.

The same survey also showed more Filipinos are optimistic that jobs will be available.

Asked about job prospects in the next 12 months, 33 percent said there would be more jobs, 37 percent said there would be no change and 16 percent were pessimistic, for a “fair” net optimism score of +17.

In the May 2012 poll, 29 percent said there would be more jobs, 31 percent said there would be no change and 16 percent said there would be less, for a “mediocre” net score of zero.

The SWS said its figures are based on the traditional definition of unemployment as being without a job and also looking for a job. The jobless who are not looking for work – housewives, the retired, etc. – are excluded.

Joblessness refers to adults in the labor force – those who are at least 18 years old, in contrast to the official lower boundary of 15 years of age used by the National Statistics Office, the SWS said.

The SWS said the NSO’s Labor Force Survey definition of unemployment has three requirements: not working, looking for work and available for work.

Those not available for work, even though looking for work, are subtracted, while those available for work but not seeking work for a number of reasons are added.

If availability of work is considered, the SWS’ jobless rate would be 22.9 percent (an estimated 8.4 million Filipinos), the pollster said.

The SWS survey was conducted from Aug. 24-27 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide.

It has sampling error margins of plus or minus three percentage points for national and plus or minus six percentage points for area percentages.


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