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Jobless rate rises to 4.1% in May

MANILA, Philippines, July 10 ------ The country’s jobless rate went up in May from the previous month as the number of people actively looking for work increased, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Preliminary results of the Labor Force Survey released by the PSA showed the unemployment rate in May at 4.1 percent, up slightly from four percent in April. The jobless rate in May, however, declined from 4.3 percent in the same month last year. 


In terms of magnitude, the number of unemployed Filipinos in May was estimated at 2.11 million, higher than the 2.04 million in the previous month, but lower than 2.17 million in May last year. National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the higher labor force participation in May contributed to the increase in unemployment during that month. 


The labor force participation rate climbed to 64.8 percent in May from 64.1 percent in April, but dipped from 65.3 percent in May 2023. There were 50.97 million individuals in the labor force in May, up from 50.40 million in the previous month and 50.43 million in May last year. “Some of them were absorbed by our labor market and some were not,” Mapa said. 


The employment rate dipped slightly to 95.9 percent in May from 96 percent in the previous month, but climbed from 95.7 in May last year. An estimated 48.87 million Filipinos were employed in May, higher than the 48.36 million in April and 48.26 million in May 2023. The underemployment rate declined to 9.9 percent in May from 14.6 percent in April this year and 11.7 percent in May last year. There were 4.82 million underemployed individuals, or those wanting to have additional hours of work or an additional job, in May, down from April’s 7.04 million and 5.66 million in May 2023. 


Industries with the biggest month-on-month declines in employment in May are accommodation and food service activities with -322,000; fishing and aquaculture (-241,000); administrative and support service activities (-135,000); professional, scientific and technical activities (-101,000) and other service activities (-74,000). Meanwhile, those that posted the highest month-on-month increases in employment in May are agriculture and forestry with 610,000; construction (391,000); public administration and defense; compulsory social security (309,000); education (116,000) and manufacturing (107,000). 


Commenting on the data, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the government remains committed to implementing key reforms to encourage investments, sustain the positive momentum of the labor market and create more quality jobs for Filipinos. “We must persist in our efforts to boost investments and implement key technological and innovative reforms to enhance productivity and create more high-quality employment opportunities,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said. He emphasized the important role that digital technologies will play in enhancing public sector employment facilitation services and training programs and in improving skills forecasting in policy planning and programming. 


The NEDA expects that the recently launched National Artificial Intelligence Strategy Roadmap 2.0 will help expand upskilling programs and increase the uptake of AI-enabled processes and solutions by businesses. In line with efforts to sustain the country’s labor market trend and harness AI to create high-quality jobs, the NEDA is currently crafting the Trabaho Para sa Bayan (TPB) Plan, which will serve as the country’s blueprint for comprehensive employment generation and recovery. “Since June, we have been conducting public consultations for the TPB Plan across all regions in the country. We want to involve both employers and workers in understanding how various changes in the economy, society and the environment have been affecting the world of work and how the different labor market actors have been adjusting to the changes,” Balisacan said. “The key is to identify effective and efficient solutions to their challenges and may continue to encounter,” he added. 


NEDA is committed to finalize the TPB by the end of the year. 




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