RESULTS of the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed a decrease in the country's unemployment rate for the second consecutive quarter.
The March 28 to 31 survey of SWS showed a jobless rate of 19.7 percent in the first quarter of 2019, an improvement of 1.4 percentage points from the 21.1 percent in December 2018. This translates to about 9.4 million adult Filipinos who were jobless in the first quarter.
"This marks the second consecutive quarter where there has been a decrease in the proportion of adults in the labor force who are jobless," the SWS said.
The SWS defines jobless Filipinos as either those who voluntarily left their previous jobs; lost their jobs because of retrenchment; and those who are seeking jobs for the first time.
The poll noted that about one in 10, or 9.4 percent, of unemployed Filipinos voluntarily left their old jobs while 7.6 percent were retrenched. About one in three, or 2.7 percent, were first-time jobseekers.
Of those retrenched, about 5.6 percent did not have their contracts renewed, 1.4 percent got laid off, and the remaining 0.5 percent had employers who closed operations.
SWS also said adult joblessness was at 21 percent of the labor labor force or estimated 1.5 million in Metro Manila, 21 percent or estimated 4.6 million in Balance Luzon, 18 percent or estimated 1.5 million in the Visayas, and 17 percent or estimated 1.8 million in Mindanao.
Adult joblessness was higher among women, which was at 30 percent or estimated six million, compared to 12 percent or estimated 3.4 million among men.
The number of Filipinos who are unemployed was also highest in the 18 to 24 age group, which was estimated at 46 percent or 2.1 million.
This was followed by 27 percent or estimated three million among 25 to 34 age group, 18 percent or two million among 35 to 44 age group, and 11 percent or estimated 2.2 million among those aged 45 years and above.
The SWS likewise revealed that joblessness was higher in urban areas, which was at 21 percent or estimated 4.1 million, than in rural areas at 19 percent or estimated 5.2 million.
The same survey showed that the labor force participation rate is at 71.4 percent, or an estimated 47.6 million, higher by 5.2 percentage points than December 2018's 66.2 percent or an estimated 42.4 million.
In a statement on Wednesday, May 8, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Palace welcomed the poll results.
"The Palace welcomes the latest Social Weather Stations survey showing a continuous drop in adult joblessness at 19.7% in March 2019," the Palace official said.
"We remain committed in creating jobs by attracting more foreign investments and promoting good governance as we look forward to welcoming more Filipinos in the workforce," he added.
Panelo said the recent signing of Republic Act No. 11261 or the First Time Jobseekers Assistance Act, which waives government fees and charges on documents needed to be complied with by first-time jobseekers for their employment, would "expand accessibility of first-time jobseekers to government services and ultimately, to employment."
He said the signing of the law only proved that President Rodrigo Duterte considers labor as "one of the engines that will propel further the country’s growth and development."
The SWS interviewed 1,440 adult Filipinos, using sampling error margins of ±2.6 percentage points for national percentages, and ±5 percentage points each for Metro Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao. (SunStar Philippines)