Underemployment went down to 14.8 percent in January from 15.4 percent during the same month last year, while the jobless rate remained at 5.3 percent, as job creation was offset by the increase in number of Filipinos joining the labor force.
Results of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) January 2020 Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed that the labor force participation rate among Filipinos aged 15 and older increased to 61.7 percent from 60.3 percent a year ago.
Assistant National Statistician Wilma A. Guillen told a press briefing on Thursday (March 5) that of the 73 million who were 15 years old and above at the start of the year, over 45 million were counted as part of the “economically active” labor force.
As such, the employment rate of 94.7 percent in January translated into 42.7 million Filipinos with jobs, up from more than 41 million a year ago, Guillen said.
Given the same rate of unemployment as last year but with a bigger labor force, the number of Filipinos without jobs last January also rose to 2.4 million from a year ago’s 2.3 million.
The PSA data showed that the labor force grew 4 percent in January, the same pace of increase in employment but slightly below the 4.7-percent rise in unemployment.
The PSA defines the underemployed as "employed persons who express the desire to have additional hours of work of their present job, or to have additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours."
The total number of underemployed Filipinos declined to 6.32 million from 6.3 million a year ago.
Also, PSA data showed that of the 19.9 million Filipino youth aged 15 to 24, 7.4 million were considered part of the labor force in January, with a higher participation rate of 37.4 percent from 35.9 percent last year.
The youth employment rate also rose to 86.4 percent from 85.8 percent a year ago, as 6.4 million had jobs, up from 6.1 million in January 2019.
However, young Filipinos worked for only 38.7 hours per week in January, down from 41.8 hours a year ago.
Source: Philippine Daily Inquirer - March 6, 2020