PH unemployment rate down to 3.5%

PH unemployment rate down to 3.5%
SunStar File

THE Philippines’ unemployment rate recorded a slight decrease to 3.5 percent in February 2024 from 4.8 percent in the same month last year, according to the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority on Thursday, April 11.

This translates to 1.80 million unemployed individuals for the month. In January this year, unemployment stood at 4.5 percent.

The employment rate, on the other hand, increased to 96.5 percent from 95.2 percent in the same month in 2023. This translates to 48.95 million employed Filipinos. January’s employment rate was at 95.5 percent.

The country’s Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) or those who were either employed or unemployed in February this year was posted at 64.8 percent which translates to 50.75 million Filipinos. This was lower than the recorded LFPR in February 2023 at 66.6 percent (51.27 million), but higher than the January 2024 LFPR at 61.1 percent (48.09 million).

On average, employed persons worked 40.1 hours per week, which was higher than the average hours worked in a week in February 2023 at 39.5 hours but lower than the reported average hours worked in a week in January 2024 at 42.1 hours.

Moreover, the underemployment rate in February 2024 was posted at 12.4 percent, lower than the recorded rate in February 2023 at 12.9 percent and in January 2024 at 13.9 percent.

Underemployment refers to a situation where individuals are employed, but their employment falls short of full utilization of their skills, qualifications, or availability to work.

In terms of magnitude, 6.08 million of the 48.95 million employed individuals expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, to have an additional job, or to have a new job with longer hours of work in February 2024.

Winners, losers

The top five sub-sectors that gained employment were construction (470 thousand); transportation and storage (444 thousand); administrative and support service activities (344 thousand); manufacturing (313 thousand); and accommodation and food service activities (210 thousand).

On the other hand, sectors that posted the highest annual decreases in the number of employed persons were agriculture and forestry (-834 thousand); fishing and aquaculture (-490 thousand); public administration and defense; compulsory social security (-418 thousand); information and communication (-107 thousand); and wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (-102 thousand).

Government intervention

According to National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, the government remains resolute in creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment to attract employment-generating investments.

“We will also continue to implement measures to address bottlenecks and expedite processes to realize investment pledges, particularly in priority sectors holding much promise, such as renewable energy and critical minerals.” 

Balisacan added that the government will revisit the existing policy governing alternative work modes, such as the Telecommuting Act, and adapt it to the evolving work landscape to address the growing preference for remote work. 

“The government will explore enhancing the potential of part-time work to help promote lifelong learning. A framework for part-time work and similar set-ups can allow workers to retool or upskill without leaving the workforce,” he said.

Moreover, to facilitate the development of soft and hard skills among workers and create a more agile and adaptive workforce, the government continues to advocate for the passage of the Apprenticeship Bill, Lifelong Learning Bill and Enterprise Productivity Act. / (TPM, KOC / SunStar Philippines)


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