December 5, 2019

The country’s labor market continues to thrive, with increased employment level and lower unemployment rates in October 2019, the National Economic and Development Authority said.

The October round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that all major sectors – agriculture, industry and services – posted employment gains reaching a total net employment generation of 1.8 million.

Employment rate rose to 95.5 percent, from 94.9 percent in October 2018. This rate is the highest in all previous October rounds of the survey since 2009.

Notably, the unemployment rate dropped further to 4.5 percent or 153,000 less unemployed persons, from last year’s 5.1 percent. This is the lowest overall unemployment rate for all October survey rounds in the last ten years.

Underemployment rate – the proportion of those already employed but still wanting more work – also went down to 13.0 percent from 13.3 percent in October 2018.

Labor force participation rate likewise improved to 61.5 percent, which is mainly accounted for by the increase in participation rate among women, after four years of decline.

“The results of the October 2019 round of the LFS reflected a vibrant labor market. But the government must still continue to fast-track the implementation of programs and policies that help create quality employment and improve productivity,” said NEDA Undersecretary for Regional Development and Officer-in-Charge (OIC) Adoracion M. Navarro.

She added that full implementation of recently enacted reforms, such as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act and the Revised Corporation Code, are essential in boosting employment creation by fostering Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) growth in the country.

With 3.4 million young Filipinos who are underutilized as they are neither in employment nor in education, Navarro said the government’s youth flagship programs must be enhanced. These include the Government Internship Program; the JobStart Philippines Program; and apprenticeship, learnership, and dual training programs. She said these will develop competencies and capabilities, including life skills and work ethics, to prepare the youth to join the workforce and thrive in a competitive world of work.

“It is also important to improve both the quantity and quality of work in line with the country’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 8 – decent work and economic growth – to achieve the country’s employment generation and underemployment targets,” Navarro said.

She also noted that the government remains on track with respect to four out of seven employment-related targets in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022.

The government is on track in terms of reducing the unemployment rate to 5.1 percent in FY 2019 which is within the PDP target range of 4.7 to 5.3 percent.

Moreover, employment generation averaged around 1.3 million in FY 2019, far exceeding the government’s annual target of creating 900,000 to 1.1 million employment.

Improving the quality of work in areas outside NCR and reducing the share of the youths at-risk were also met for the period.

“Nonetheless, we still need to fast-track strategic efforts for the other lagging indicators in order to achieve end-of-plan targets towards full and inclusive employment,” Navarro said.

Navarro is currently the OIC while Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia is on official travel abroad.