The unemployment rate in the country declined to 5.1 percent of the labor force in April from 5.5 percent a year ago, as more than 1 million Filipinos found jobs, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Wednesday.
Data showed that the employment rate in April improved to 94.9 percent, the highest among all April rounds of the Labor Force Survey since 2009. The total number of employed individuals climbed to 42.24 million from 40.9 million.
The underemployment rate, or the percentage of workers wanting more hours of work, also eased to 13.5 percent in April from 17 percent a year earlier. In absolute terms, the number of underemployed individuals decreased to 5.7 million from 6.9 million.
Some 1.3 million jobs were created over the past 12 months, results of the latest Labor Force Survey showed.
“The April 2019 round of the LFS reflected an upbeat labor market, where unemployment rate was at a low 5.1 percent and underemployment rate at 13.5 percent; these, even with the slight uptick in labor force participation,” Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a statement.
Pernia pointed out the need to continuously reduce the unemployment and underemployment rates to successfully meet the Philippine Development Plan targets by 2022.
“Both the quality and quantity of work need to be addressed. At the same time that employment opportunities are being increased, workers and job seekers must be enabled to improve their knowledge and skills through training and education,” he said.
The labor force participation rate in April 2019 was estimated at 61.4 percent out of the population of 72.5 million among 15 years old and above. This was higher than the labor force participation of 60.9 percent in April 2018.
Workers in the services sector comprised the largest proportion of the employed population, representing 58.5 percent of the total. Among them, those engaged in the wholesale and retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles accounted for the largest percentage (34.6 percent) of workers in the services sector.
Workers in the agriculture sector comprised the second largest group with 22.3 percent, while workers in the industry sector made up the smallest group with 19.2 percent.
The April 2019 LFS results showed that in the industry sector, workers in the construction and manufacturing subsectors made up the largest groups, accounting for 52.1 percent and 43.7 percent of the workers in these subsectors, respectively.
The PSA said that of the total employed persons in April 2019, 67.6 percent were full-time workers, while 31.3 percent were part-time workers. In April 2018, full-time workers comprised 68 percent while part-time workers, 31.0 percent.
Underemployed persons who worked for less than 40 hours in a week accounted for 60 percent of the total underemployed in April this year and 52.6 percent in April 2018.
By sector, 47.6 percent of the underemployed worked in the services sector, while 34 percent were in the agriculture sector. Those in the industry sector accounted for 18.5 percent.