SOME 2.761 million Filipinos were unemployed in January, according to data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
In the January 2017 Labor Force Survey (LFS), PSA said the estimated number of jobless Filipinos during the period was equivalent to 6.6 percent, higher than the 5.7 percent during the same period in 2016.
Ilocos Region (8.7 percent), National Capital Region (NCR) (8.5 percent), Caraga (8.5%), and Calabarzon (8.2 percent) were the regions with the highest unemployment rates.
There were more males who were unemployed or about 69.6 percent, it said.
"Of the total unemployed, the age group 15 to 24 years comprised 44.1 percent, while the age group 25 to 34, 29.6 percent. By educational attainment, 16.5 percent of the unemployed were college graduates, 14.6 percent were college undergraduates, and 31.1 percent were high school graduates," PSA said.
The increase in unemployment rate is partly due to the temporary election-related jobs, said the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), the agency which oversees PSA. This was also observed in January 2011, a year that followed the 2010 elections.
On the other hand, employment rate was at 93.4 percent, translating to 39.3 million employed Filipinos. The figure was lower than the 94.3 percent employment rate in January last year.
“We mainly observe the employment losses in the agriculture sector, which has been greatly affected by typhoons Nina and Auring that hit our country last December and January,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.
He noted that the agriculture sector accounts for the second largest share of total employed at 25.5 percent, which has shed an estimated 882,000 workers or two-thirds of the employment losses.
“The government must focus interventions to diversify the sources of income of our workers in the agriculture sector, increase labor participation of women, and address youth unemployment and underutilization,” he added.
Meanwhile, underemployment went up to 16.3 percent or 1.6 million workers, lower from last year’s 19.7 percent, Neda said. This is the lowest rate recorded for all LFS January rounds since 2006.
Underemployment refers to those who are working but wanted more work. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)