PH jobless rate rises to 4.8% in January

THE country’s unemployment rate in January increased to 4.8 percent in January from 4.3 percent in December 2022.

This translates to 2.37 million unemployed Filipinos, according to the preliminary data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released Thursday, March 9, 2023.

Unemployment rate in January 2022 stood at 6.4 percent.

PSA undersecretary Dennis Mapa said the higher unemployment rate at the start of the year is expected as economic activities buoyed by the holiday season start to wane.

Employment rate, on the other hand, accelerated to 95.2 percent in January, which translates to an additional 4.09 million employed persons during the month, bringing the total employment to 47.35 million from 43.3 million in January 2022.

Mapa said the employment rate is slowly getting back to the pre-pandemic level.

“The latest employment indicators show the robust recovery and growth of our labor market from its slump in January 2022, when the surge in Omicron cases prompted stringent mobility and capacity restrictions,” National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.

“However, we note that employment created year-on-year was mostly part-time and classified as vulnerable. Thus, it is imperative that labor market policies and programs that directly contribute to labor productivity and employment generation must be prioritized, not only to preserve jobs but also to generate quality jobs,” he added. “High-quality jobs necessitate highly skilled individuals. We will prioritize the upskilling and reskilling of the workforce to equip them with higher competencies by expanding lifelong learning opportunities.”

Top 5 sectors

The top five sectors with the highest year-on-year increase in the number of employed person in January 2023 were: wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (1.53 million); agriculture and forestry (960,000); accommodation and food service activities (549,000); transportation and storage (303,000); and other service activities (203,000).

In contrast, three major industries that exhibited the largest drop in employment were construction with 334,000 employed persons followed by water supply; sewerage, waste management, and remediation activities (34,000); and professional, scientific, and technical activities (19,000).