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Unemployment rate falls to lowest level since 2005

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JOB FAIR. Hundreds of job seekers queue up at the Mega Job Fair held by the City of Manila at SM Manila last Jan. 18, 2024. The Philippine Statistics Authority said the number of unemployed Filipinos declined to 1.6 million in December 2023 from 2022's 2.22 million. PHOTO: Yancy Lim/Philippine News Agency
MANILA – The country's unemployment rate in December last year fell to its lowest level since 2005, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said.
In a briefing on Wednesday, National Statistician Dennis Mapa said preliminary results of the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed that the unemployment rate in December 2023 further went down to 3.1 percent from 4.3 percent in December 2022.
It was also lower than the 3.8 percent seen in November 2023 and the lowest recorded unemployment rate since the PSA introduced a new methodology for measuring the LFS in 2005.
Mapa said the number of unemployed Filipinos was estimated at 1.6 million, lower than the reported 2.22 million in December 2022.
The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR), meanwhile, was at 66.6 percent or about 52.13 million Filipinos aged 15 and above who were either employed or unemployed.
The country's employment rate went up to 96.9 percent in December 2023, higher than the 95.7 percent a year earlier.
The number of employed Filipinos was recorded at 50.52 million in December 2023, higher than the number of employed persons in December 2022 at 49 million.
Mapa said industries with the biggest increase in employment include 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).
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 was at 6.01 million.
For the full year of 2023, the country's unemployment went down to 4.3 percent from 5.4 percent in 2022.
Employment rate, on the other hand, increased to 95.7 percent from 2022's 94.6 percent, while underemployment rate fell to 12.3 percent.
"We welcome the news of a record-low unemployment rate, signifying the economy's sustained momentum and resiliency of our labor market. 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," National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.
"We will continue ramping up social and physical infrastructure investments and dramatically improve human capital to strengthen our people's employment prospects," he added.
Given the promising labor market conditions, Balisacan is confident that the favorable trends will continue as the government pushes for more investments by creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment and address 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.
Balisacan vowed that the government will further increase the utilization of digital technology, to raise productivity and promote efficiency.
"The government must ensure that innovation and digitalization become integral across all sectors. To help enable such processes, we are very open to collaborating with our colleagues in Congress to tackle and ultimately pass the Open Access in Data Transmission bill," he said.
"Accelerating digitalization and improving connectivity through a more competitive and vibrant ICT sector can be a game changer, especially when considering the socioeconomic opportunities that can be created and multiplied for small business owners and those in far-flung areas," he added.
Balisacan said the government should also enact reforms in education and training programs, such as upskilling and reskilling initiatives, to promote innovation.
He said these efforts will equip the workforce with the necessary skills and adaptability to thrive in the evolving digital landscape.
"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 said. (PNA)

Last Modified: 2024-Feb-08 10.00.00 UTC+0800