1.6M jobless pinoys in December

1.6M jobless pinoys in December
SunStar File photo

THE country’s unemployment rate further eased to 3.1 percent in December 2023, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024.

In terms of magnitude, the number of unemployed Filipinos in December 2023 was estimated at 1.60 million, lower than the 2.22 million recorded in the same month lin 2022.

Employment rate, on the other hand, rose to 96.9 percent from 95.7 percent in the same month last year.

This translates to 50.52 million employed Filipinos for the month, higher than the 49 million Filipinos with jobs in December 2022.

“We welcome the news of a record-low unemployment rate, signifying the economy’s sustained momentum and resiliency of our labor market,” said National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan in a statement. “Further, the Marcos Administration is steadfast in its commitment to prioritize creating high-paying jobs to address the longstanding vulnerabilities in our country’s employment and lower the underemployment rate, an indicator of job quality. We will continue ramping up social and physical infrastructure investments and dramatically improve human capital to strengthen our people’s employment prospects.”

Given these promising labor market conditions, Balisacan expressed confidence that these favorable trends will continue as the government pushes for more investments by creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment and relentlessly addressing constraints in critical areas identified by the private sector.

These include the cost of energy and logistics, the ease of doing business, the competitiveness of the country’s labor force and the consistency of rules and regulations.

Labor force participation

The PSA also reported that the country’s labor force participation rate, or the estimate of the economy’s active workforce, was posted at 66.6 percent or 52.13 million Filipinos aged 15 years old and over as of December 2023.

Average weekly hours worked of an employed individual in December 2023 was estimated at 40.6 hours per week, higher than the 40.3 average hours per week posted in December 2022.

Of the Filipinos with jobs, 6.01 million expressed the 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.

More jobs were generated in the construction (777,000), agriculture and forestry (715,000), accommodation and food service activities (498,000), transportation and storage (174,000) and human health and social work activities (140,000) during the month.

On the other hand, there were employment losses in the wholesale and retail trade (-660,000), administrative and support service activities (-250,000), and fishing and aquaculture (-159,000), financial and insurance activities (-132,000); and arts and entertainment (-16,000).

The PSA also noted an increase in the youth underemployment rate, rising to 11.6 percent from 9.2 percent in the same period last year.

“We will continue to advocate for interventions to support a more agile and adaptive workforce, such as the Apprenticeship Bill, Lifelong Learning Bill, and Enterprise Productivity Act. These efforts will complement the various initiatives to provide upgraded and expanded employment facilitation services to support our robust labor market,” Balisacan added.

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