Adult joblessness in the Philippines was down to 19 percent or the equivalent of about 8.7 million Filipinos who are unemployed in the first quarter of the year, according to the latest survey released by pollster Social Weather Stations.
While the figure was 2.3 points below the 21.3 percent in December 2022 and seven points below the 26 percent in April 2022, it was still 1.5 points higher than the pre-pandemic record of 17.5 percent in December 2019.
SWS defines the labor force as adults, 18 years and above, who are presently with a job as well as those looking for a job.
The survey was conducted from March 26 to 29 using face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adult respondents nationwide — 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.
Based on the results, the Labor Force Participation Rate was at 62.4 percent or 45.9 million.
Adult joblessness was highest in Balance Luzon at 21.7 percent; followed by Mindanao (19 percent), Metro Manila (17.5 percent), and the Visayas (13.5 percent).
The survey noted that compared to December 2022 figures, the quarterlyjoblessness fell from 24.8 percent in Metro Manila, 23.1 percent in Balance Luzon, and 18.6 percent in the Visayas.
However, it hardly moved from 18.1 percent to 19 percent in Mindanao.
SWS added that joblessness stayed higher among women at 30.2 percent than among men at 11.6 percent.
“Compared to December 2022, joblessness fell from 15.2 percent among men while it hardly moved from 29.7 percent among women,” it said.
As of March 2023, joblessness was highest among the 18-to-24-year-olds at 36 percent, followed by the 25-to-34-year-olds at 23.8 percent, those 45 years old and above at 15.9 percent, and the 35-to-44-year-olds at 11.7 percent.
The March 2023 survey found joblessness higher in urban areas at 21.6percent than in rural areas at 14.6 percent. Compared to December 2022, joblessness fell from 21.2% in rural areas while it hardly moved from 21.3% in urban areas. This widened the urban-rural joblessness gap from 0.1 points to 7 points. The urban-rural joblessness gap was double-digit in only 10 out of 117 surveys since September 1993.
Joblessness peaked at 45.5 percent in July 2020. It went on a generally downward trend from September 2020 to December 2022, reaching as low as 18.6% in October 2022.