MANILA — Significant gains were registered by the country’s labor market as employment figures for October 2014 revealed that better quality jobs were generated and unemployment dropped to its lowest in 10 years, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

This statement came after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released the results of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) for October 2014. The survey showed that the number of employed Filipinos increased by 2.8 percent to reach 38.8 million from 37.8 million in the same period last year, translating to 1.05 million jobs generated.

“The improved employment numbers also translated to better quality jobs as around 1.03 million of the total employment generated in October 2014 were considered full time. Consistent with this is the increase in remunerative wage and salary workers, particularly in private establishments,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan.

All major sectors posted increased employment with services as the main driver of growth. It accounted for more than half (53.7%) of employed workers and had the level of employment increased by 3.3 percent or by 675 thousand workers over a year ago.

“With the broad-based growth in employment, we are provided an optimistic outlook on the country’s economic performance in the fourth quarter of 2014,” the Cabinet official said.

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) also expanded further to 64.3 in October 2014 from 63.9 in October 2013. This indicates that the labor market grew to about 41.3 million, absorbing 925 thousand new labor entrants.

“The consistently high LFPR for the past three quarters sends a strong signal that more Filipinos are encouraged to join the labor force. This could largely be attributed to the momentum created by the strong economic growth performance over the past four years,” said Balisacan, who is also NEDA Director-General.

Moreover, the unemployment rate of 6.0 percent for the October 2014 survey round of the LFS is thus far the lowest recorded since April 2005.

It is worth noting that workers with higher educational attainment registered higher unemployment rates compared to workers with lower grade completion. This further supports the view that the lower income group (or those whose workers with lower educational attainment) can not afford to be unemployed while the more educated can prolong the time spent looking for work,” he said.

On the other hand, underemployment, which is the proportion of those who are already working but still wanted more work, rose further to 18.7 percent (or approximately 7.3 million underemployed workers), compared to the 18.0 percent registered in October 2013.

“Challenges to uplift the quality of employment across sectors remain. Hence, the government needs to sustain the implementation of multidimensional approach to raise investments, particularly in the rural areas, and improve productivity as well as income per capita in the country. It is also important to encourage income diversification and labor mobility in and out of agriculture,” said Balisacan.

He noted that the labor and employment data for the October 2014 LFS round still excludes Leyte, as the province was devastated by typhoon Yolanda and no survey was conducted in the province. To be comparable, the PSA also excluded the labor and employment data of the said province in the October 2013 LFS round.