Unemployed Pinoys drop to 2.18M as employment grows to 49.7M

THE Philippines’ unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent or 2.18 million in November 2022, the lowest since April 2005, the government reported Friday.

The rate was down from 6.5 percent in the same period in 2021. Accordingly, the employment rate increased to 95.8 percent or an additional 4.2 million employed persons. This brings the total employment to 49.7 million.

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

The labor force participation rate rose to 67.5 percent in November 2022 from 64.2 percent in the same month in 2021.

An additional 3.2 million Filipinos, of whom 2.5 million are women, entered the labor force. This development increased women’s labor force participation to 57.8 percent from 52.2 percent in 2021.

“We see a more dynamic labor market as flexible work arrangements and digitalization provide easier access to employment opportunities for Filipinos who also attend to other essential tasks such as parenting and pursuing higher education, among others,” Balisacan said.

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate fell to 14.4 percent (from 16.8 percent), equivalent to 457,000 fewer underemployed persons. However, the number of invisibly underemployed, or those who are already employed full-time yet still looking for additional work, slightly increased.

“Creating an enabling environment to attract investments that can create more and high-quality employment while improving the employability of Filipinos are among the major strategies to advance economic and social transformation,” Balisacan said.

The Neda chief added that measures to attract investments include the upgrading and expanding of infrastructure, and improving regulatory and bureaucratic efficiency.

The new Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028 released on Dec. 31, 2022 also outlines key strategies to increase the income-earning ability of Filipinos.

These include expanding opportunities for lifelong learning, training and re-training programs, and developing the adaptability of the current and future workforce to the changing demands of the labor market.

The PDP also includes strategies to enhance labor market information systems and employment facilitation services.

“The strategies of the PDP 2023-2028 intend to reinvigorate job creation, particularly high-quality jobs. Expanding our pool of high-quality workforce will also support our goal of economic and social transformation to accelerate economic recovery and ensure that it will be inclusive and resilient,” Balisacan said.