Jobless rate went down to 5.6 percent of the labor force in October this year, the lowest in 10 years, from 6 percent a year ago, as more jobs were created over the past 12 months, data from Philippine Statistics Authority show.
“This is also the first time that unemployment rate dropped below 6 percent. In fact, for the full year 2015, the country did better than the Philippine Development Plan target of 6.6 to 6.8 percent for unemployment. This is due to faster employment growth in the services and industry sectors,” said Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
Data from the quarterly labor force survey of PSA showed the number of jobless individuals declined to 2.372 million in October from 2.483 million in the same month last year.
The jobless rate eased as the number of jobs in the country increased by 940,000 over the past 12 months. The number of employed Filipinos reached 39.779 million as of October this year, up from 38.839 million in the same month last year.
Underemployment rate also eased to 17.6 percent in October from 18.7 percent a year ago. In absolute terms, there were 7.021 million underemployed individuals as of October, down from 7.279 million a year earlier.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the October unemployment rate was the lowest figure recorded in the past decade.
“Coupled with an improvement in employment and a decrease in underemployment, this serves as an indication of our economy’s robust growth. Our employment rate is currently estimated at 94.3 percent—an increase from last year’s 94.0 percent,” Lacierda said in a statement.
The labor force survey also revealed that labor force participation rate dipped to 63.4 percent in October 2015, mainly coming from the young working age population or those with ages 15 to 24 years.
“The decision among the 15- to 24-year-old population not to look for work during the period could be because they chose to pursue higher education or undergo training, as indicated by the increase in tertiary education enrol.ment rate, as well as the increase in technical vocational engagements among the youth,” Balisacan said.
Balisacan said the number of part-time workers seeking additional hours of work decreased by 7.9 percent, or equivalent to 334,000 less underemployed workers who work less than 40 hours per week.
Data showed that the number of workers in the services sector grew by 2.1 percent, or an additional 440,000 workers employed while workers in the industry sector grew by 2.8 percent, or 169,000 more workers.
“This positive trend in the labor market is also reinforced by an improvement in the quality of jobs generated, as majority of the labor force found remunerative work and full-time employment,” said Balisacan.
Wage and salary workers increased by 573,000. In terms of hours of work, the share of full-time employment to total employment increased to 65.2 percent from 63.7 percent. Meanwhile, part-time employment went down to 34.2 percent from 35.4 percent in October 2014.
“For these to continue, the government must ensure that the gains and efforts to focus on quality employment are further sustained. We need to sustain public investments in education and training to improve labor productivity and capacities. At the same time, we need to sustain the momentum of fiscal spending, particularly in infrastructure development, to boost economic growth and employment in agriculture and industry sectors,” said Balisacan.