MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — Unemployment eased to 4.2 percent in November compared to the previous month, which is the lowest since April 2005, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Friday.
The unemployment rate for the month is equivalent to 2.18 million Filipinos looking for jobs, which is lower compared to the 2.24 million or 4.5 percent in October and the 3.16 million or 6.5 percent in November 2021, National Statistician Dennis Mapa said in a briefing.
Mapa said the annual unemployment average from January to November of 5.5 percent is near the pre-pandemic level of 5.1 percent in 2019.
The top industries with the largest increase in employment on a month-on-month basis are wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, manufacturing, accommodation and food services, agriculture and forestry and public administration and defense as well as compulsory social security, data showed.
Employment rate also rose in November to 95.8 percent, equivalent to 49.71 million. The month's total is higher compared to October's 95.5 percent employment rate or 47.11 million Filipinos with jobs and the 93.5 percent or 45.47 million in the same month last year, the PSA said.
“Normally yung last few months holiday season kasi, talagang doon tumataas ang employment rate kasi nag marami tayong economic activity,” Mapa said.
(Normally the last few months, holiday season, that's when employment rate rises since there is a lot of economic activity.)
The National Economic and Development Authority in a statement said the dynamic labor market is indicative of a steady economic recovery.
“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,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said.
Underemployment rate, however, rose to 14.4 percent or 7.16 million in November compared to 14.2 percent or 6.67 million the previous month, data showed.
November's underemployment rate is lower compared to the 16.8 percent of 7.62 million in the same period last year, the PSA said.
'MSMEs SHOULD OPEN ALREADY'
Employers Confederation of the Philippines president Sergio Ortiz Luis Jr. urged smaller businesses to reopen so they could provide more jobs following the easing of COVID-19 protocols.
"Marami doon sa mga kumpanya, kung minsan tinatawag nila ang kanilang empleyado nila, eh hindi naman for work pa. Minsan nagkakaroon ng rotation, partial work, mayroong worker na hindi naman buo ang araw... But slowly but surely, we are getting there," he said in a public briefing.
"Kailangan nating ma-encourage yung mga maliliit, micro especially, na kalahati noon nagsara, magbukas na at mag-full blast na sila kung puwede."
(Many companies call back employees, but not for full-time work. Sometimes, there is rotation, partial work, there are some workers who don't report for a full day. We need to encourage small, especially micro businesses, half of which closed, to reopen and go on full blast if they can.)
Government should also ensure ease of doing business, as red tape could hinder enterprises from expanding.
NEDA said attracting investments could help create high-quality employment for Filipinos.