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Jobless rate drops to 17-year low of 4.2%

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The country’s unemployment rate in November 2022 declined to a 17-year low of 4.2 percent from 4.5 percent a month ago and 6.5 percent a year ago, as the labor market sustained its return to the pre-pandemic level, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Friday.

National Statistician and Civil Registrar General Dennis Mapa said in an online briefing that the November unemployment rate was the lowest rate since April 2005.

“In terms of magnitude, about 2.18 million were unemployed in November 2022. This was lower than the 2.24 million total unemployed persons in October 2022 and 3.16 million in November 2021,” Mapa said.

The employment rate of 95.8 percent in November 2022 was equivalent to 49.71 million employed persons. In October 2022, the number of people employed was estimated at 47.11 million, and in November 2021, 45.47 million.

“The employment rate from July to November 2022 has returned to the pre-pandemic level,” Mapa said. “Normally, the employment rate increases in the last quarter of the year because of more economic activities during the Christmas season. This is seasonal and we have observed this in the past,” Mapa said.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the government will continue pursuing a dynamic labor market that will generate more jobs and high-quality employment.

“The strong labor market signifies the steady recovery of our economy. With the release of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, we are starting our work toward deepening economic and social transformation,” Balisacan said.

The labor force participation rate rose to 67.5 percent in November 2022 from 64.2 percent in the same month last year. An additional 3.2 million Filipinos, of whom 2.5 million are women, entered the labor force. This increased women’s labor force participation to 57.8 percent from 52.2 percent last year.

“We see a more dynamic labor market as flexible work arrangements and digitalization provide easier access to employment opportunities for Filipinos who also attend to other essential tasks such as parenting and pursuing higher education,” Balisacan said.

The average weekly hours worked of an employed person in November 2022 declined to 39.3, from 39.6 and 40.2 hours per week in November 2021 and October 2022, respectively.

Underemployed persons or employed persons who expressed desire to have additional hours of work were registered at 7.16 million translating to an underemployment rate of 14.4 percent.

This was lower than the reported rate in November 2021 of 16.8 percent but higher than the reported rate in October 2022 at 14.2 percent.

By gender, the male labor force participation rate was estimated at 77.0 percent while female labor force participation was 57.8 percent. The employment rate was higher among females at 95.9 percent than their male counterpart at 95.7 percent. Moreover, the underemployment rate among males (16.1 percent) was higher than females (12.1 percent). The unemployment rate among females was lower at 4.1 percent of 22.17 million total female labor force than their male counterpart at 4.3 percent of the total 29.71 million male labor force.

By sector, the services sector continued to dominate the employment market having the largest share of employed persons of about 60.5 percent. The agriculture and the industry sectors accounted for 21.4 percent and 18.1 percent of the employed persons, respectively.

The wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, manufacturing, accommodation and food service activities, and agriculture and forestry had the highest increases in employment.

On the other hand, construction, fishing and aquaculture, transportation and storage, administrative and support services and mining and quarrying showed declines in employment.

The Palace said the administration’s efforts to provide more jobs to Filipinos was gaining momentum.

“The employability of the Filipino worker is vital to building a strong labor force. Maintaining a high degree of employability requires the continuous upgrading of skills and knowledge,” the Palace said. (See full story online at

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva welcomed the decline in the unemployment rate, saying that the government’s hard work was paying off, and said he would push for a comprehensive National Employment Action Plan.

Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda said the November 2022 employment figures demonstrate very strong economic momentum, especially when viewed from a month-on-month perspective.

“We gained 2.6 million new jobs from October to November 2022, which is 61 percent of the year-on-year jobs gains of 4.23 million new jobs,” Salceda, chairman of the House committee on ways and means, said.

He said the significant part of the November 2022 employment figure is due to the decision to resume face-to-face activities, especially class instruction. “Consumer spending towards the year-end also helped create new jobs. Most year-end bonuses should have been given around this month. This is especially the case for employees in the public sector,” Salceda said.


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