October 6, 2022 – Prioritizing investment opportunities in the productive sectors and strengthening the country’s human capital will translate to more high-quality and resilient jobs, further enabling a vibrant Philippine labor market, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

As reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority today, the country’s unemployment rate significantly declined to 5.3 percent in August 2022 from 8.1 percent in the same period last year. This translates to a decrease of unemployed workers to 2.7 million in August 2022 from 3.9 million in August 2021.

The underemployment rate remained at 14.7 percent or 548,000 more employed individuals seeking additional hours of work.

“We are now reaping the gains of the safe and gradual full reopening of the economy. However, we must not rest on our laurels—we must harness the benefits of our key economic liberalization laws such as the Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act, and Retail Trade Liberalization Act. These reforms would attract high-value and innovation-driven investments which, in turn, could generate more and quality employment,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.

Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate picked up to 66.1 percent in August 2022 from 63.6 percent in August 2021, the highest recorded rate since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This translates to 2.4 million more Filipinos in the labor force relative to the previous year.

Further, total employment reached 47.9 million in August 2022 or 3.6 million additional employment year-on-year. This is on account of stronger growth in the services sector, specifically in the wholesale & retail trade and accommodation & food services that benefitted from the continuous easing of mobility restrictions and resumption of face-to-face classes.

On the other hand, the agriculture sector, which accounts for 22.6 percent of total employment, shed around 265,000 employment year-on-year due to high fuel and fertilizer prices, African swine fever, bird flu, and weather disturbances.

“We need to make sure that we are effectively implementing our disaster risk management measures, including social protection programs for communities affected by the recent calamities. Leveraging technology will improve preventive and responsive measures and mitigate possible labor market downturns in times of disasters,” Balisacan said.  

Balisacan likewise cited the strategies for a more efficient labor market that will be outlined in the upcoming Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028, which includes improving the quality of education, providing opportunities for life-long learning, in-demand skills development, options to obtain micro-credentials, enhancing job facilitation programs and strengthening linkages among industries, businesses, and training institutions.

“We must further strengthen our policy interventions so we can generate more jobs, green jobs, and high-quality jobs that provide adequate income for Filipino workers and to attain significant poverty reduction. These are necessary steps towards achieving economic transformation,” the NEDA chief added.


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