Increase in Jobless Filipinos: March Labor Market Report

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Manila, Philippines: Jobless Rate Rises Amidst Challenging Labor Market

The labor market in the Philippines has experienced a significant deterioration, as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Wednesday. The number of jobless Filipinos has risen once again, with the country’s jobless rate increasing to 3.9 percent in March from 3.5 percent in February. However, it is important to note that this rate is lower than the 4.7 percent recorded in the same month last year.

In absolute terms, this increase in the jobless rate translates to approximately 2 million unemployed Filipinos, which is 200,000 more than the figure reported in February. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that this number is lower than the 2.42 million reported in March of the previous year, indicating a year-on-year drop of 420,000 unemployed individuals.

The Impact of Underemployment

Additionally, the report highlights the issue of underemployment, which refers to individuals who are seeking more work or an extra job. The rate of underemployment in the country has actually declined further, dropping to 11.0 percent in March from 12.4 percent in February and 11.2 percent in March 2023.

This decline in underemployment is a positive development, as it indicates that more individuals are finding sufficient work opportunities. However, it is important to consider the perspective of those who are classified as underemployed. The number of underemployed individuals in the Philippines currently stands at 5.39 million. These individuals express a desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, to have additional jobs, or to secure a new job with longer working hours.

Evaluating the Employment Rate

The PSA also observed a slight decrease in the employment rate, which dropped to 96.1 percent in March from 96.5 percent in February. However, it is worth noting that this rate is higher than the 95.3 percent recorded in March 2023. Despite the decline in the employment rate, the number of individuals with jobs in March reached 49.15 million, surpassing the figures reported in the same month of the previous year (48.58 million) and February 2024 (48.95 million).

The Dominance of the Services Sector

In terms of the distribution of employment, the services sector continues to dominate the labor market in the Philippines. It accounts for a significant share of 61.4 percent of the total employed persons in March. This highlights the importance of the services sector in driving economic activity and providing job opportunities in the country.

Understanding Labor Force Participation

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) in the Philippines for March was registered at 65.3 percent. This indicates the proportion of the working-age population that is either employed or actively seeking employment. While this rate is higher than the 64.8 percent recorded in February, it is lower than the LFPR of March in the previous year, which stood at 66.0 percent.

It is crucial to contextualize these statistics within the local laws, customs, and economic conditions of the Philippines. The rise in the jobless rate and the challenges in the labor market reflect the broader impact of global economic trends and local factors on the country’s workforce. As with any country, fluctuations in employment rates and underemployment are influenced by a range of factors, including economic policies, industry trends, and the overall state of the global economy.

In conclusion, the recent report from the Philippine Statistics Authority highlights the challenges faced by the labor market in the Philippines. The rise in the jobless rate and the persistence of underemployment underscore the need for targeted policies and initiatives to promote job creation and improve the quality of work opportunities. By understanding the nuances of the labor market and considering the local context, policymakers can work towards addressing these issues and fostering a more inclusive and resilient economy for the benefit of all Filipinos.

Source: The Manila Times

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