MANILA -- (UPDATE) Unemployment eased in July compared to the same period in 2017, while underemployment rose, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Wednesday.
The unemployment rate declined to 5.4 percent from 5.6 percent while underemployment rose to 17.2 percent from 16.3 percent, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority's Labor Force Survey.
"It does concern all of us. Its not just the quantity of jobs but it's the quality of jobs that's important," Ateneo Graduate School of Business professor Wilfrido Arcilla.
"If your underemployment is increasing, that tells you that a lot of our employees are looking for more work in order to augment their incomes especially in the context of rising inflation that will erode their purchasing power," he said.
Underemployment could continue to rise as wages "take some time before adjust," Arcilla said.
Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said underemployment could be a result of people working part time to be able to go to school at the same time.
"We have to look at the data, where is that underemployment rising," Diokno said.
The official jobless rate is based on the number of Filipinos 15-years old and above. The underemployed represent those who have jobs but wish to work additional hours or have an additional job.
The World Bank said last May that addressing underemployment was "crucial" to accelerating the Philippines' efforts to reduce poverty.