MANILA — The country’s unemployment rate slightly increased to 5 percent last October from 4.7 percent in the same month last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday.
In its October 2017 Labor Force Survey (LFS), the PSA, an attached agency of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said employment rate fell to 95 percent from 95.3 percent.
Total employment decreased to 41.6 million in October 2017, lower by 0.3 points from a year ago, on lower agricultural employment.
Agriculture, accounting for 25 percent of the country’s total employment, shed about 1.4 million employment at negative 12.1 percent.
Industry and services, which accounted for 75.1 percent of the total employment, rose by 5.2 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Underemployment rate, or the proportion of employed people wanting additional work hours, declined to 15.9 percent in October 2017 from 18 percent recorded last year.
The rate represents about 893,000 less underemployed workers.
The number of remunerative and stable wage and salaried workers increased by about 624,000, while vulnerable employment, or the proportion of self-employed and unpaid family workers to total employment, further decreased to 33.9 percent last October, an improvement from 36.3 percent a year ago.
The NEDA said underemployment recording its lowest rate in more than a decade, signifies that the country’s decent work agenda is moving forward.
“The lower underemployment rate and the higher proportion of wage and salary workers indicate improvement in the quality of employment in the country,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and NEDA Director-General Ernesto M. Pernia.
Pernia said the regular conduct of job fairs and the provision of livelihood assistance have contributed to the improvement of underemployment rates, especially in areas outside the National Capital Region.
“This is a good indicator that our efforts in the lagging regions are starting to take effect,” he said.
Underemployment in areas outside the NCR registered 17 percent, lower by 2.6 points from the 19.6 percent in 2016.
Pernia underscored the need to closely monitor the agriculture sector to ensure that those engaged in the sector are highly productive and resilient and are increasingly linked to the industry and services sectors.
“Agriculture sector is very vulnerable to risks, including natural and man-made hazards. The government should strengthen early warning systems and social protection programs for the sector to ensure resiliency of agricultural communities,” he said.
Pernia added that the sector requires sustainable productivity improvements by promoting value addition, product diversification, and accelerating local infrastructure provision like irrigation systems and farm-to-market roads.