Over eight million Filipinos were jobless or looking for better employment conditions in December 2022, according to the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Based on the Labor Force Survey (LFS) results, there were 2.2 million Filipinos who were unemployed and 6.2 million who were considered underemployed.
The ranks of the unemployed declined by 1.06 million from the 3.28 million posted in December 2021 but increased by 43,000 from the 2.18 million recorded in November 2022.
For the underemployed, the December 2022 data showed there was a decline of 614,000 from the 6.81 million posted in December 2021 and 964,000 decrease from the 7.16 million in November.
“The government remains committed to providing more, better and green job opportunities to Filipinos and sustaining a vibrant labor market through the strategies articulated in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.
Meanwhile, Neda said underemployment in December 2022 slid to 12.6 percent from 14.7 percent in the same period in 2021, equivalent to 614,000 fewer underemployed persons.
Both visible and invisible underemployment rates fell to 8.1 from 9.8 percent, and 4.5 percent from 4.9 percent, respectively in the last month of 2022.
The top employment contributors in December 2022 include wholesale and retail trade, other service activities, and accommodation and food service activities, which were boosted by the full resumption of commercial activities, pent-up demand, and holiday spending.
However, Neda said these were tempered by losses in agriculture due to weather disturbances and the spread of infectious diseases among livestock and poultry.
“We are steadfast in pursuing this year’s growth target amidst global and domestic risks to ensure that jobs are preserved and new employment is generated. Generating more and high-quality jobs in the agriculture sector and ensuring food security for Filipinos remain part of our top priorities,” the government’s chief economist said.
As the economy further reopened, 1.7 million more Filipinos joined the labor force, raising the labor force participation rate to 66.4 percent from 65.1 percent in the previous year.
The corresponding expansion in the services and industry sectors resulted in an additional 2.7 million employed persons year-on-year, bringing total employment to 49.0 million Filipinos.
Image credits: Bernard Testa