MANILA (UPDATE) - There were fewer jobless Filipinos in July this year as the unemployment rate declined and the employment rate improved, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Thursday.
However, the number of underemployed workers also climbed, underscoring what analysts earlier said was an issue of job quality in the country's jobs market.
The unemployment rate declined to 5.2 percent in July, which is equivalent to 2.6 million jobless Filipinos. This was an improvement over the previous month's 6 percent unemployment rate, which was equivalent to 2.99 million jobless workers, the PSA said.
July's figure was also an improvement compared to the 5.7 percent or 2.76 million unemployed in April 2022 and the 7.2 percent or 3.23 million jobless in July last year, data showed.
"The latest improvement in the local unemployment data defied the effects of higher inflation and interest rates/financing costs,” RCBC chief economist Michael Ricafort said.
Meanwhile, the number of underemployed persons was estimated at 6.54 million in July, higher than the 5.89 million estimated in June. The underemployment rate also climbed to 13.8 percent in July from 12.6 percent in June.
People are classified as underemployed by the PSA when they already have jobs but still want to work more hours to add to their income. People can be working more than 40 hours per week but still be classified as underemployed, especially in the informal sector.
The employment rate also improved to 94.8 percent for the period, which is equivalent to 47.39 million. This is higher by 5.72 million and 1.76 million compared to July 2021 and April 2022, respectively, the PSA said.
In April 2022, the employment rate was 94.3 per. It was 92.8 in July last year.
DECLINE IN PROFESSIONAL JOBS, RISE IN SERVICES AND AGRI
The PSA also noted that from July last year to July this year, there were thousands of jobs lost in important subsectors of the economy.
Professional, scientific, and technical activities saw 93,000 jobs lost; Information and communication saw 54,000 jobs lost; and Manufacturing saw 34,000 jobs lost.
From April to July, manufacturing also lost 163,000 jobs; education lost 62,000 jobs; information and communication lost 8,000 jobs.
"Nakita natin na possible dahil dito sa mataas na input cost," National Statistician Dennis Mapa said.
(We see that this is possibly due to higher input costs)
"While we are seeing some trends in the numbers, hindi pa talaga substantial ang pag-aaral (the study on the matter is not yet substantial)," he added.
Meanwhile, millions of jobs were added in other sectors from July last year to July this year.
The PSA said 2.14 million jobs were added in wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; Agriculture and forestry added 1.74 million jobs; Accommodation and food service activities added 498,000 jobs.
By quarter, the largest increases in employment were seen in wholesale and retail trade of motor vehicles and motorcycles, agriculture, accommodation and food activities, administrative and construction, the PSA said.
Year-on-year, the increased employment was observed in the same sectors but including other service activities and public administration and defense, it added.
Ricafort said an increase in jobs in the farm sector was due to the administration's commitment to increase agriculture productivity.
The economic powerhouses of the National Capital Region and CALABARZON also had jobless rates that were higher than the national average. NCR’s unemployment rate was at 6.9 percent, while CALABARZON’s was at 6.3 percent.
Employment bounced back in the Philippines this year as the country relaxed pandemic restrictions, allowing more sectors of the economy to operate at full capacity.
-- with a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News