FEBRUARY 8, 2023 – The Philippine labor market continues to record positive gains as more Filipinos pursue and attain high-quality jobs amid the now fully-opened economy, said the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that the country’s unemployment rate declined to 4.3 percent in December 2022, from 6.6 percent during the same period the previous year. This translates to 1.1 million fewer unemployed compared to December 2021.

As the economy further reopened, 1.7 million more Filipinos joined the labor force, raising the labor force participation rate to 66.4 percent from 65.1 percent in the previous year.

The corresponding expansion in the services and industry sectors resulted in an additional 2.7 million employed persons year-on-year, bringing total employment to 49.0 million Filipinos.

“The government remains committed to providing more, better and green job opportunities to Filipinos and sustaining a vibrant labor market through the strategies articulated in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said. [Read the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028]

Top employment contributors in December 2022 include wholesale and retail trade, other service activities, and accommodation and food service activities, which were boosted by the full resumption of commercial activities, pent-up demand, and holiday spending. However, these were tempered by losses in agriculture due to weather disturbances and the spread of infectious diseases among livestock and poultry.

“We are steadfast in pursuing this year’s growth target amidst global and domestic risks to ensure that jobs are preserved and new employment is generated. Generating more and high-quality jobs in the agriculture sector and ensuring food security for Filipinos remain part of our top priorities,” the government’s chief economist said.

Meanwhile, underemployment in December 2022 slid to 12.6 percent from 14.7 percent in the same period in 2021, equivalent to 614,000 fewer underemployed persons. Both visible and invisible underemployment rates fell to 8.1 from 9.8 percent, and 4.5 percent from 4.9 percent, respectively in the last month of 2022.

“As emphasized in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, increasing the income-earning ability of Filipinos entails developing their employability in the market. Alongside providing high-quality jobs, we must ensure that their skills are not just aligned with current in-demand requirements but can also continuously keep up with the demands of evolving and emerging jobs,” Balisacan said.

“Crucial to achieving social and economic transformation is the ‘transformation of talent’ that would create an agile labor force and sustain labor market gains. We will leverage our momentum to ensure the rapid and dynamic growth of our economy,” he added.

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