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Jobless Pinoys down to 2.18M in November due to the holidays

by Leila Salaverria

THE number of jobless Filipinos fell to 2.18 million in November 2022 from 3.16 million in October 2022 due to the increase in economic activities due to the holiday season, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Friday.

But underemployment got worse, which means so many people found seasonal or part-time jobs less than their qualification.

The November unemployment rate placed at 4.2 percent, compared to 4.5 in the preceding month and 6.5 percent in November 2021.

The estimated unemployment rate in November 2022 was the lowest since April 2005.

The number of employed Filipinos 15 years old and above stood at 49.71 million in November, for an employment rate of 95.8 percent, the highest recorded since April 2005.

In October 2022, the number of employed individuals was 45.47 million and in November 2021 45.47 million.  

This is an indication of economic recovery, according to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

“The strong labor market signifies the steady recovery of our economy. With the release of the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, we are starting our work toward deepening economic and social transformation,” Balisacan said in a statement.

Higher underemployment numbers

But underemployment worsened. The PSA said the number of underemployed Filipinos, or those who are employed but want to work longer hours or get an additional job, increased to 7.16 million or 14.4 percent, from 6.67 million or 14.2 percent in October. 

But the November 2022 figure was lower than the number of underemployed in 2021, which was 7.62 million. 

The labor force participation rate, or the proportion of Filipinos working or actively looking for a job, also increased to 67.5 percent, which is equivalent to 51.88 million individuals.

PSA Chief Claire Dennis Mapa said employment and labor force participation typically increases in the last few months of the year because of the holiday season, when more people are buying and spending. 

“Normally yung last few months, holidays season kasi talagang tumataas and employment rate, labor force participation kasi marami talagang economic activities,” Mapa said in a press briefing. 

Mapa also said the average unemployment rate from January to November 2022 was 5.5 percent, which is close to the 2019 average of 5.1 percent. The average unemployment rate was 7.8 percent in 2021 and 10.4 percent in 2020.  

As for the increase in underemployment numbers, he said this could be attributed to the fact that a portion of the people hired during the holiday season were not employed full time. 

These were workers hired to meet the increased demand for products and services due to the holidays.

The underemployed were in wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; manufacturing; and construction. 

Balisacan said the administration is seeking to create an enabling environment to attract investments that can create more and high-quality employment while improving the employability of Filipinos. 

Top employment sector

With regard to total employment numbers, the services sector accounted for 60.5 percent of, followed by the agriculture sector with 21.4 percent, and the industry sector with 18.1 percent. 

More workers here

The sub-sectors with the largest increase in employment based on the month to month comparison were:

  • Wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles
  • Manufacturing
  • Accommodation and food service activities
  • Agriculture and forestry
  • Public administration and defense; compulsory social security

Fewer workers here 

The top sub-sectors with the highest drop in the number of employed persons from October 2022 to November 2022 were:

  • Construction
  • Fishing and aquaculture
  • Transportation and storage
  • Administrative and support service activities
  • Mining and quarrying 

Banner photo credit: DOLE Region 1 office 



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