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PSA reports 4.5% PH unemployment rate in January

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Unemployment rate in the Philippines climbed to 4.5 percent in January 2024 from a record low of 3.1 percent in December 2023, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Friday.

Results of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed, however, that on a year-on-year basis, the jobless rate improved from 4.8 percent in January 2023.

“The Marcos administration remains committed to creating a favorable business environment to attract both local and foreign investments in the country, aiming to generate more high-quality employment opportunities,” the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said in a statement.

The underemployment rate in January 2024 also eased to 13.9 percent 14.1 percent reported in the same month last year.

“The government sustains its push to attract more job-generating investments by creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment. At the same time, linkages between industry, the academe and the public sector will be strengthened to address skill mismatches in the labor market,” said NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

Results of the newly-released Jobstreet by SEEK 2024 hiring, compensation and benefits report show that the Philippine job market is expected to remain positive in the first half of 2024, driven by continued strong hiring activity and low unemployment.

“The current age of employment is here, and it is progressing exponentially day by day, and as we see it, 2024 is a very promising year for the job market. We hope this new report will be able to guide our hirers and candidates in navigating the ever-dynamic world of work,” said Jobstreet Philippines managing director Dannah Majarocon.

Finance Secretary Ralph Recto said the quality of jobs in the Philippines continued to improve as more Filipinos are engaged in formal and stable work—representing the largest portion of the employed workforce in the country.

“Wage and salary workers enjoy more stable employment conditions, including perks such as health insurance and social welfare benefits. The fact that they are continuously increasing and accounting for the largest share of employed persons in the country indicates that the majority of our workforce is engaged in formal jobs,” Recto said.

The PSA revealed that the labor force contracted in January, as the overall labor force participation rate (LFPR) declined to 61.1 percent from 64.5 percent in January 2023.  This translated to about 1.6 million fewer individuals in the labor force.

Most of the contraction was recorded among women (-1.3 million), the youth cohort (-1.0 million), and junior high school graduates (-652,000), it said. The top reasons cited for not joining the labor force are household duties, age-related restrictions, such as being too young/old or having a permanent disability, and schooling.

The return to onsite work also limited women’s participation to 49.3 percent from 53.7 percent in January 2023. Completely on-site schooling brought the youth LFPR down to 29.6 percent from 34.8 percent in the same period last year.

“We will remain responsive to the needs of vulnerable groups, including women, youth, older individuals, and those with disabilities. Our existing policy framework governing alternative work arrangements will be revisited,” Balisacan said.

More than half of the total employment in January 2024 was provided by services (60.2 percent) followed by agriculture (21.4 percent) and industry (18.4 percent).

The top sub-sectors that recorded annual increases in the number of employed persons in January 2024 were construction; transportation and storage; administrative and support service activities; and fishing and aquaculture.


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