THE Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that preliminary figures show that unemployment rate in the country has improved to 7.4 percent in October 2021 from 8.9 percent in September 2021.

"The October 2021 labor force survey results affirmed the soundness of the government’s push to safely reopen the economy, restore employment, and manage the spread of Covid-19. As we relaxed restrictions to alert level 2, more people were able to work while Covid-19 positivity, case fatality, and bed occupancy rates continued to improve," the country’s economic managers said in a joint statement on December 7, 2021.

The group includes Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua, Department of Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez, and Department of Budget and Management officer-in-charge Tina Rose Marie L. Canda.

Data from PSA showed that "the total number of unemployed persons 15 years old and over in October 2021 was registered at 3.50 million." This is lower than the number of employed persons in the same period in 2020 at around 3.81 million.

PSA added that employment rate in the country increased to 92.6 percent in October from 91.1 percent in September.

"Better employment outcomes in October were driven by the government’s policies that further reopened the economy safely, such as shifting to the alert level system and granular lockdowns from large-area and blanket quarantines and allowing more mobility for vaccinated individuals," the economic managers said.

They also attributed the improvement in the labor situation in the country to "the close collaboration between the private sector and government not only in accelerating the inoculation drive for our people but also in enforcing the minimum health protocols to contain infections."

The PSA said the services sector continues to be the country's top employer with 57.6 percent of the total number of employed persons in the country working in the sector.

"The agriculture and the industry sectors accounted for 24.6 percent and 17.8 percent of the employed persons, respectively," PSA said.

PSA reported that in terms of quarter-on-quarter change, the top five sub-sectors with the highest increase in the number of employed persons from July 2021 to October 2021, were Agriculture and forestry; Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor and motorcycles; Fishing and aquaculture; Public administration and defense; compulsory social security; and Human health and social work activities.

"At the regional level, six regions posted unemployment rates higher than the national figure of 7.4 percent in October 2021, namely: Calabarzon (10.3 percent), Mimaropa (10 percent), National Capital Region (NCR) (9.2 percent), Bicol Region (9 percent), Ilocos Region (8.4 percent), and Eastern Visayas (7.6 percent)," PSA said.

Meanwhile, PSA reported that the underemployment rate has increased to 16.1 percent in October from 14.1 percent in September. Economic managers said this was due to more people working under part-time arrangements.

PSA defines underemployment as "employed persons who expressed desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or to have an additional job, or to have a new job with longer hours of work."

Davao Region

Meanwhile, Davao Region saw an increase in unemployment rate from five percent in September to 5.5 percent in October.

This means that employment rate saw a slight decrease to 94.5 percent from 95 percent in the same period.

Underemployment rate in the region, however, dropped to 7.7 percent from 17.9 percent.