Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said over the weekend he expects a resilient labor market in the months ahead which will further boost economic recovery.
Diokno issued the statement after latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the country’s unemployment rate in November declined to a 17-year low of 4.2 percent from 4.5 percent in October and 6.5 percent a year ago, as the labor market sustained its return to the pre-pandemic level.
“We anticipate the year to culminate with a resilient labor market as economic activity from the holiday season will further boost domestic demand, helping us achieve our economic growth targets,” Diokno said.
The PSA said there were 2.2 million unemployed individuals in November 2022, down by 982,444 or 31.1 percent from the same month in 2021.
Employment climbed to 49.7 million in November 2022, representing an additional 4.2 million employment year-on-year. The increase was driven by wage and salary workers, specifically those employed in private establishments, which made up 48.1 percent of the employed population.
The November 2022 Labor Force Survey also saw the highest labor force participation rate since April 2005. The LFPR improved to 67.5 percent, a 3.2-million increase from 64.2 percent a year ago. This translated to about 51.8 million Filipinos in the labor force.
The quality of employment improved, with the underemployment rate decreasing to 14.4 percent from 16.7 percent in the same period last year. The underemployed decreased to around 7.1 million from 7.6 million in November 2021.
The labor market recovered 7.2 million jobs―the highest since the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020. This development exhibited the country’s strong economic recovery.
By major sectors, services had the highest growth at 20.7 percent, followed by industry at 12.4 percent, and agriculture at 10.6 percent.
Compared to November 2021, the services and industry sectors continued their gains with double-digit growths of 13.9 percent and 13.6 percent, respectively. These sectors accounted for 78.6 percent of the total employed persons for November 2022.
Due to the increased economic activity observed during the holidays, the services sector saw the biggest gains in employment. The wholesale and retail sub-sector took the lead, which generated 1.3 million new jobs.
This was followed by accommodation and food services (749,694), and transportation and storage (490,586).
In the youth category, the unemployment rate significantly dropped to 8.4 percent from 13.4 percent a year ago. Youth underemployment rate also improved to 11.6 percent from 16.6 percent last year.
The government laid out plans for economic and social transformation through the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 to further improve the quantity and quality of jobs in the country.
Further improvements on business regulations and bureaucratic efficiency will help attract investors that could stimulate the country’s labor market, Diokno said.
“The government will continue to implement policies and programs to increase employability, expand access to employment opportunities, and achieve shared labor market governance to fully recover employment losses from the pandemic to protect the country’s labor market from the possible global economic slowdown in 2023,” he said.