THE country’s unemployment rate has declined to 7.4 percent in October from 8.9 percent in September 2021, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported Tuesday, December 7, 2021.

Jobless Filipinos stood at 3.50 million in October, lower by 309,000 from the total unemployed persons recorded in October 2020 which stood at 3.81 million.

The underemployment rate, however, increased from 14.2 percent to 16.1 percent in the same period as more people worked under part-time arrangements. The labor force participation rate also slightly decreased from 63.3 percent to 62.6 percent.

Employment creation remained positive as 234,000 more Filipinos were able to find work in the past month. This brings total employment to 1.3 million above pre-pandemic levels.

By broad industry group, the services sector continued to dominate the employment market, having the largest share of employed persons of about 57.6 percent.

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

“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 National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said in a statement.

Even with the threat posed by new variants, Neda said it is confident that the country’s healthcare system and vaccine stockpile will suffice to contain another surge in infections.

“Backed by a stronger healthcare system, we will solidify our recovery by reopening the economy to Alert Level 1 in January 2022. At the same time, to avert long-term productivity losses and restore more employment, we will resume face-to-face schooling in January 2022, increase public transport capacity for all transport types to 100 percent, and relax restrictions for domestic and international travel,” the agency said.