Jobless Pinoys down to 7.9 million, lowest in 6 years

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Jobless Pinoys down to 7.9 million, lowest in 6 years
Commuters endure long lines in Philcoa, Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City on December 14, 2023.
STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — An estimated 7.9 million Filipinos were jobless in the third quarter of the year, the lowest since 2017, according to a recent survey conducted by Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The results of the Sept. 28 to Oct. 1 survey released yesterday found that the adult joblessness rate was at 16.9 percent of the adult labor force or those presently without a job plus those looking for employment.

It was down from 22.8 percent in a similar survey conducted in June (estimated 10.3 million people), and the lowest since the 15.7 percent obtained in December 2017.

The latest SWS survey found that the labor participation rate is at 63.3 percent (or an estimated 46.5 million), up from 61.5 percent in June (about 45.3 million).

SWS’ adult joblessness rate consists of adults who voluntarily left their old jobs, those who lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control, and those seeking jobs for the first time.

The polling firm said joblessness reached a catastrophic level of 45.5 percent in July 2020 at the height of the pandemic “before going on a generally downward trend since September 2020.”

Historically, the results of the SWS survey on joblessness are higher than the combined unemployment and underemployment rates released by the government through the Labor Force Survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA’s combined unemployment and underemployment rates, which cover 15 years old and above, were at 15.4 percent as of October 2023.

Compared to June 2023, SWS said joblessness dropped across all areas.

It remained highest among respondents in balance Luzon at 21 percent (from 30 percent), followed by those in Metro Manila at 19 percent (from 24 percent), Visayas at 12 percent (from 16 percent) and Mindanao at 12 percent (from 16 percent).

Joblessness also fell among respondents in rural (from 21 percent to 16 percent) and urban areas (from 25 percent to 18 percent).

By gender, joblessness was still higher among women respondents at 21 percent (from 27 percent) than male respondents at 14 percent (from 20 percent).

The survey had 1,200 adult respondents with a margin of error of plus/minus 2.8 percent for national percentages.

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