MANILA (UPDATE) - The Philippines’ unemployment rate fell in October even as underemployment climbed during the month, the state statistics bureau said on Tuesday.
The Philippine Statistics Authority said the unemployment rate was at 7.4 percent in October, meaning around 3.5 million Filipino workers were jobless for the month.
October's figure was lower than the 8.9 percent jobless rate seen in September, and the 8.7 percent rate in October last year.
The underemployment rate meanwhile climbed to 16.1 percent in October, from 14.2 percent in September. Underemployed refers to workers who already hold jobs but still seek additional jobs or working hours.
The PSA noted the improvement in the country’s job market.
“Employment in the country improved with a reported 43.83 million employed persons in October 2021 from 39.84 million employed persons in the same period last year. In July 2021, [the] number of employed persons was registered at 41.67 million,” the PSA said.
The employment rate increased to 92.6 percent in October from 91.1 percent in September.
“By broad industry group, the services sector continued to dominate the employment market having the largest share of employed persons of about 57.6 percent. The agriculture and the industry sectors accounted for 24.6 percent and 17.8 percent of the employed persons, respectively,” the PSA said.
The country’s economic managers said the October employment figures support the government’s shift in its management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are on the right track to a strong and early recovery. Once more, our strategy has been proven correct,” said a joint statement by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and Budget and Management Officer-in-charge Tina Rose Marie Canda.
They said that as the country relaxed restrictions to alert level 2, more people were able to work while COVID-19 positivity, case fatality, and bed occupancy rates continued to improve.
“Sustaining these gains will allow us to recover to the pre-pandemic level in early 2022, a year ahead of the government’s initial estimates,” they said.
Meanwhile, PSA data also showed that two of the country’s most productive regions still had jobless rates higher than the national average.
The National Capital Region had a jobless rate to 9.2 percent while CALABARZON 10.3 percent.