Unemployment rate in September fell to a three-year low of 5 percent from 5.3 percent in August and 8.9 percent a year ago, as more Filipinos found jobs with the further reopening of the economy, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Tuesday.
National statistician and civil registrar general Dennis Mapa said in an online briefing the September jobless rate “was the lowest since the 4.5 percent in October 2019”, or two months before the outset of the global health crisis.
Mapa said that in terms of magnitude, 47.58 million Filipinos were employed in September, higher than 43.59 million a year ago.
Data showed that with the vibrant resumption of economic activities, an additional 2.2 million Filipinos joined the workforce, raising the country’s labor force participation rate to 65.2 percent in September from 63.3 percent in the same month last year.
“There were about 2.5 million unemployed individuals [out of 50.08 million Filipinos who were in the labor force] in September 2022, but this was lower compared to the 2.68 million in August 2022,” Mapa said. The unemployment rate in September 2021 reached 8.9 percent.
Data, however, showed that the underemployment rate went up to 15.4 percent in September from 14.7 percent in August and 14.2 percent a year earlier.
Underemployed persons or those employed who expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their current job, to have an additional job or to have a new job with longer hours of work was recorded at 7.33 million of the 47.58 million employed Filipinos in September.
Employment rate was estimated at 95.0 percent in September, up from 94.7 percent in the previous month. It was the highest employment rate since January 2020. In September 2021, the employment rate was reported at 91.1 percent.
Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the labor market sustained its positive momentum with the unemployment rate dropping to a new record low since the onset of the pandemic.
“The recent survey results show the gains of the full reopening of our economy. The government will leverage on this momentum by strengthening policy interventions and investing in innovation and technology systems geared toward generating higher-quality employment that provides adequate income for Filipino workers and their families,” Balisacan said.
Balisacan underlined the need for effective implementation of emergency employment programs and other forms of assistance to immediately assist those who were hard-hit by the calamities.
The labor force participation rate in September was registered at 65.2 percent, or about 50.08 million individuals who were either employed or unemployed of the 76.83 million Filipinos aged 15 years and over.
Mapa said the labor participation rate declined in September due in part to the reopening of face-to-face classes, where a significant number of individuals chose to return to schooling.
The average weekly hours worked by an employed person in September was estimated at 39.6 hours per week, lower than the average weekly hours worked in August at 40.5 hours and in the same period last year of 40.2 hours.
Services consistently dominated the labor market with 58.9-percent share to the total employed population of 47.58 million.
The agriculture and the industry sectors accounted for 22.5 percent and 18.6 percent of the employed persons, respectively.