Unemployment rate jumps to 5.3% in August

WORK WANTED Job seekers apply for employment at the opening on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, of the Mega Job Fair led by Malabon Mayor Jeannie Sandoval held at the Oreta Sports Complex. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

(UPDATE) THE Philippine unemployment rate hit 5.3 percent in August from 5.2 percent or 2.6 million in July, Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said Thursday.

According to the PSA's latest Labor Force Survey, August's jobless rate translates to 79,000 more unemployed than in July.

However, the number of unemployed Filipinos year-on-year was lower in August this year than the 3.88 million jobless in August 2021.

Economic subsectors that recorded the largest month-on-month increases in joblessness were fishing and aquaculture (286,000); construction (258,000); arts, entertainment and recreation (64,000); health and social work activities (37,000); and real estate activities (37,000).

In a virtual press briefing, PSA chief and National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said the elevated prices of goods and services had much to do with the fall in employment figures.

He added that the joblessness in the fisheries sector was impacted by the inclement weather and expensive diesel prices.

“We've seen in the past that their fishing expeditions and such could be affected by diesel prices. Workers were affected by the higher diesel prices so they cut back on trips,” Mapa said in Filipino.

The PSA added that the country's underemployment rate, or the total number of workers looking for more jobs or working hours, increased to 14.7 percent, equivalent to 7.03 million.

The number was higher than the 6.54 million underemployed in July 2022, with an underemployment rate of 13.8 percent.

Despite the rise in jobless persons, the number of employed persons was estimated at 47.87 million while it was at 44.23 million for the same period last year. In July 2022, the number of employed persons was 47.39 million.

This translates to an employment rate of 94.7 percent in August, slightly lower than the 94.8 percent employment rate in July.

PSA attributed the employment data to stronger growth in the services sector, specifically in the wholesale and retail trade and accommodation and food services that benefited from the continuous easing of mobility restrictions and resumption of face-to-face classes.

Mapa said more Filipinos joined the labor force at 50.55 million in August from 49.99 million in July due to easing of restrictions and entry of younger job seekers.

The labor force participation rate increased from 65.2 percent to 66.1 percent month on month. This is the highest number the PSA recorded since the Covid-19 pandemic started.

“Both employment and unemployment figures increase when labor force participation increases substantially, since some of the participants failed to find jobs,” Mapa explained.

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