Unemployment down at 3.9% in March 2024

JOBSEEKER. A woman looks at the bulletin board posted outside SM City Davao to see the available jobs she can apply for. Spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment, the 2023 Labor Day Job Fair featured about 3,000 job vacancies from 46 local companies participating. Over 100 individuals were hired on the spot. RAMCEZ VILLEGAS
JOBSEEKER. A woman looks at the bulletin board posted outside SM City Davao to see the available jobs she can apply for. Spearheaded by the Department of Labor and Employment, the 2023 Labor Day Job Fair featured about 3,000 job vacancies from 46 local companies participating. Over 100 individuals were hired on the spot. RAMCEZ VILLEGAS

The country's unemployment rate in March this year was estimated at 3.9 percent, lower than the recorded 4.7 percent in March last year, National Statistician Dennis Mapa said.

In a briefing on Wednesday, Mapa said the number of unemployed Filipinos during the month went down to 2 million from 2.42 million in March 2023.

Mapa said the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) in March 2024 was registered at 65.3 percent, or about 51.15 million Filipinos aged 15 and above who were either employed or unemployed.

The employment rate in March 2024 was recorded at 96.1 percent, higher than the 95.3 percent estimate in March of the previous year.

Several sectors contributed to employment gains.

The wholesale and retail trade sector saw the highest annual increase, employing 963,000, followed by manufacturing with 553,000 new jobs, and public administration and defense with 229,000 additional employed individuals.

Underemployed persons – or those who expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their current job or to have an additional job or to have a new job with longer hours of work – also declined to 5.39 million in March from last year's 5.44 million.

In a statement, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) said the government remains committed to creating more high-quality jobs for Filipinos and fostering a resilient workforce.

“We will continue to prioritize creating high-quality and well-paying jobs to address the rising issues of vulnerable employment. We will focus on attracting job-generating investments from the private sector and scaling up social and physical infrastructure to improve our people’s employment prospects to achieve this goal. These will be accompanied by reskilling and upskilling programs to increase employability,” Neda Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said. 

Balisacan said a medium- and long-term Foreign Investment Promotion and Marketing Plan (FIPMP) is underway and targeted to be completed by June 30.

The Inter-Agency Investment Promotion Coordination Committee, established following the amendment of the Foreign Investment Act, leads the formulation of the FIPMP. 

Balisacan said the government also plans to enrich the content of training programs for workers and employers by integrating courses on advanced productivity tools such as data science, analytics, and artificial intelligence. 

“For the government to sustain a robust labor market and reap the benefits of the demographic dividend, it must ensure that people are healthy, educated, and skilled. To facilitate the development of soft and hard skills among workers and create a more agile and adaptive workforce, we at NEDA continue to advocate for the passage of the Apprenticeship Bill, Lifelong Learning Bill, and the Enterprise Productivity Act,” Balisacan said.

He also called for the passage of the Konektadong Pinoy Bill, which NEDA expects to reduce costs and expand access.

“Digital connectivity can provide the workforce with more opportunities, particularly for individuals engaged in care work and other household responsibilities,” he said. 

He added that the conduct of a timely review of the minimum wage rate and the study on the improvement of the wage adjustment process will help in sustaining employment gains while safeguarding workers’ purchasing power amid elevated prices. PNA

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