Unemployment rate falls to a ten-year low of 4.5%

Unemployment rate, or the percentage of adult Filipinos without jobs, fell to a 10-year low of 4.5 percent in October from 5.1 percent a year ago as the labor force added 1.8 million jobs over the past 12 months, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Thursday.

“Notably, the unemployment rate dropped further to 4.5 percent or 153,000 less unemployed persons, from last year’s 5.1 percent. This is the lowest overall unemployment rate for all October survey rounds in the last ten years,” the National Economic and Development Authority said in a statement.

NEDA said all major sectors―agriculture, industry and services―posted employment gains with a net employment generation of 1.8 million.

Underemployment rate―the proportion of those already employed but still wanting more work­—also went down to 13 percent from 13.3 percent in October 2018.

Labor force participation rate improved to 61.5 percent, which was mainly accounted for by the increase in participation rate among women, after four years of decline.

“The results of the October 2019 round of the LFS reflected a vibrant labor market. But the government must still continue to fast-track the implementation of programs and policies that help create quality employment and improve productivity,” NEDA Undersecretary for regional development and officer-i- charge Adoracion Navarro said.

She said the full implementation of recently enacted reforms such as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act and the Revised Corporation Code would be essential in boosting employment creation by fostering the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises in the country.

Navarro said with 3.4 million young Filipinos who are underutilized as they are neither in employment nor in education, the government’s youth flagship programs should be enhanced. These programs include the government internship program, JobStart Philippines and apprenticeship, learnership and dual training programs.

She said these would develop competencies and capabilities, including life skills and work ethics, to prepare the youth to join the workforce and thrive in a competitive world of work.

“It is also important to improve both the quantity and quality of work in line with the country’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 8―decent work and economic growth―to achieve the country’s employment generation and underemployment targets,” Navarro said.

She said the government was on track with respect to four of seven employment-related targets in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022.  It was also on track in terms of reducing the unemployment rate to 5.1 percent in FY 2019 which is within the PDP target range of 4.7 to 5.3 percent.

She said employment generation averaged around 1.3 million in 2019, far exceeding the government’s annual target of creating 900,000 to 1.1 million employment.

Improving the quality of work in areas outside NCR and reducing the share of the youths at-risk were also met for the period, she said.

“Nonetheless, we still need to fast-track strategic efforts for the other lagging indicators in order to achieve end-of-plan targets towards full and inclusive employment,” Navarro said.

Topics: Unemployment rate , Philippine Statistics Authority , National Economic and Development Authority , NEDA
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