February 25, 2024

PH unemployment rate up at 4.5% in September

THE country’s employment rate in September 2023 was estimated at 95.5 percent. This was higher than the recorded employment rate in September 2022 at 95.0 percent but was slightly lower than the 95.6 percent estimate in August 2023.  In terms of magnitude, the number of employed persons 15 years old and over was recorded at 47.67 million in September 2023 from 47.58 million in the same month last year. In August 2023, the number of employed persons was 48.07 million.

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) in September 2023 was posted at 64.1 percent, which was lower than the 65.2 percent LFPR in September 2022 and the 64.7 percent LFPR in August 2023.

The unemployment rate was posted at 4.5 percent in September 2023, which was lower compared with the 5.0 percent unemployment rate in the same month of the previous year, but slightly higher than the unemployment rate in August 2023 at 4.4 percent.

The number of unemployed persons in September 2023 decreased to 2.26 million from 2.50 million in September 2022, with a year-on-year decrease of 234 thousand unemployed individuals. However, the number of unemployed persons in September 2023 was higher compared with the number of unemployed persons in August 2023 at 2.21 million.

The number of underemployed persons was reported at 5.11 million out of the total 47.67 million employed individuals, translating to an underemployment rate of 10.7 percent in September 2023. The underemployment rate in September 2023 was lower than the reported rate in September 2022 at 15.4 percent and in August 2023 at 11.7 percent.

Underemployed persons are those who expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, or to have an additional job, or to have a new job with longer hours of work.

Visible underemployment rate or the proportion of underemployed persons working less than 40 hours in a week was reported at 6.8 percent, lower than the reported 9.8 percent rate in September 2022 and 7.5 percent in August 2023. 

On the other hand, invisible underemployment rate or the proportion of underemployed persons working at least 40 hours a week was placed at 3.9 percent, lower than the estimated 5.6 percent rate in September 2022 and 4.2 percent in August 2023.

On average, an employed person worked 40.8 hours per week in September 2023. This was higher than the average hours worked at 39.6 hours per week in September last year.

By broad industry group, the services sector continued as the top sector in terms of the number of employed persons with a share of  60.4 percent in September 2023. On the other hand, agriculture sector accounted for 21.5 percent and industry sector, 18.1 percent.

The top five sub-sectors in terms of annual increase in the number of employed persons in September 2023 were the following:

a.  Accommodation and food service activities (608 thousand);       
b.  Administrative and support service activities (535 thousand);        
c.  Construction (481 thousand);       
d.  Transportation and storage (255 thousand); and       
e.  Fishing and aquaculture (193 thousand).

On the other hand, the following five sub-sectors posted the highest annual drop in the number of employed persons:

      a.  Manufacturing (-888 thousand);       
      b.  Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles       
           (-722 thousand);        
      c.  Agriculture and forestry (-649 thousand);       
      d.  Public administration and defense; compulsory social security        
           (-160 thousand); and       
      e.  Financial and insurance activities (-113 thousand);       
          (Table B)

Wage and salary workers continued to account for the largest share of employed persons with 64.7 percent of the total employed persons in September 2023.

This was followed by self-employed persons without any paid employee at 25.9 percent and unpaid family workers at 6.7 percent. Employers in own family-operated farm or business had the lowest share of 2.6 percent. 

Among wage and salary workers, those employed in private establishments remained to have the highest share of 78.2 percent of wage and salary workers or 50.6 percent of the total employed.

This was followed by those employed in government or government-controlled corporations with a share of 14.7 percent of the wage and salary workers or 9.5 percent of the total employed.

Youth Youth employment rate dropped to 86.9 percent in September 2023 from 88.5 percent in the same period last year and 87.8 percent in August 2023. 

Among the employed youth, 9.1 percent were underemployed. This was lower than the reported youth underemployment rate of 12.4 percent in September 2022 and 9.7 percent rate in August 2023. Employed youth in September 2023 worked an average of 35.7 hours per week.

This was higher than the reported 34.8 hours a week in September last year but lower than the 36.0 average weekly hours worked in August 2023.