THE Philippines' labor market showcased a positive trend as the country's unemployment rate decreased to 4.5 percent in April 2023, marking a significant improvement from 5.7 percent recorded in the same month the previous year.

The data, released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in the April 2023 Labor Force Survey, indicates a favorable job market with a decline in the number of unemployed individuals.

In terms of figures, the number of unemployed persons in April 2023 was estimated at 2.26 million, reflecting a decline of 506,200 from the 2.76 million unemployed persons in April 2022.

The survey also indicates that five out of the 17 regions reported unemployment rates higher than the national average.

These regions are Calabarzon (5.5 percent), National Capital Region (5.3 percent), Northern Mindanao (5.3 percent), Central Visayas (5.2 percent) and Central Luzon (4.7 percent).

The number of employed persons reached 48.06 million in April 2023 compared to 45.63 million in the corresponding period of 2022.

Across the regions, Cagayan Valley emerged as the leader with the highest employment rate, reaching 97.6 percent. It is closely followed by the Cordillera Administrative Region and Zamboanga Peninsula, both at 97.3 percent, while Mimaropa and Eastern Visayas registered employment rates of 97.1 percent and 97 percent, respectively.

Another significant aspect of the survey is the encouraging trends in youth employment.

The employment rate among Filipino youth in April 2023 reached 90 percent, showcasing an upward trajectory compared to the rates recorded in April 2022 (87.7 percent) and January 2023 (89.2 percent).

Dominant force

The survey data indicates that the services sector remains a dominant force in the country's labor market, employing the highest number of individuals.

In April 2023, the services sector accounted for approximately 61.1 percent of the total employed population.

Among the sub-sectors within the services sector, several exhibited substantial increases in employment between April 2022 and April 2023. The top five sub-sectors with the highest growth in the number of employed persons were wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (914,000); accommodation and food service activities (379,000); administrative and support service activities (345,000); transportation and storage (321,000); and other service activities (242,000).

However, the survey also noted declines in employment within certain sectors. The agriculture and forestry sector experienced a decrease of 290,000 employed persons, while manufacturing saw a decline of 204,000 individuals.

Other sectors that reported decreases in employment included construction (-65,000), electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply (-18,000), and activities of extraterritorial organizations and bodies (-3,000). (JGS)