MANILA, Philippines – The country’s unemployment rate went down by 7 percent in April, according to a study by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).
NEDA said jobs growth in all major sectors of the economy pushed the country's total employment to 38.7 million in April, a 4.5 percent jump from the 37 million a year ago.
The 1.7 million additional employed persons as well as the seasonal influx of newly graduates contributed to the drop in the unemployment rate.
The underemployment rate also went down to 18.2 percent in this period from 19.2 percent in April last year.
“The agriculture, industry, and services sectors all posted employment gains. This broad-based growth provides a good indicator of the quality of the country’s economic performance in the second quarter of 2014. This also backs the government’s target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent gross domestic product growth for the full year,” said Economic Planning Sec. Arsenio Balisacan.
Balisacan said that most of the employed during the period are 15 to 24 years old, which he partly attributed to more youth helping their families during the summer in agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles.
“While the labor and employment situation in the country has shown a respectable improvement in April 2014, mainly in terms of unemployment and underemployment rates, the quality of employment remains a concern,” he said.
He urged government to continue the multidimensional approach specified in the Updated Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016 to further improve labor market performance.
“To ensure that the labor and employment situation will continue to improve for the rest of the year, the timely implementation of programs is crucial. These include strategies to further improve business climate, mitigate or cope with risks like El Niño, and facilitate linkages across sectors and regions,” he said.
He also noted that the employment and labor data for the April 2014 Labor Force Survey (LFS) did not include Leyte, after it was hit by typhoon “Yolanda” in November 2013.