Saturday, May 18, 2024

Unemployment Rate Falls To 3.5% In February


Unemployment Rate Falls To 3.5% In February


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Unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent in February this year from 4.5 percent in January, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday.

In a briefing, National Statistician Dennis Mapa said based on the time series, the unemployment rate during the month was the second lowest on record since the 3.1 percent in December 2023.

Unemployment rate in February last year was 4.8 percent.

Mapa said the number of unemployed Filipinos went down to 1.80 million from 2.47 million and 2.15 million unemployed persons in February 2023 and January 2024.

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR), meanwhile, was at 64.8 percent or about 50.75 million Filipinos aged 15 years and above who were either employed or unemployed.

This is lower than the 66.6 percent LFPR seen in February last year with young people (-669,000) and women (-404,000) withdrawing from the labor force. 

“The needs of vulnerable groups, including women, youth, older people, and those with disabilities, remain our priority to encourage workforce participation. We will improve access to quality childcare, finance, and entrepreneurship opportunities to support women’s entry and retention in the labor market,” National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a separate statement.

Balisacan said the government will revisit the existing policy governing alternative work modes, such as the Telecommuting Act, and adapt it to the evolving work landscape to address the growing preference for remote work.

“The government will explore enhancing the potential of part-time work to help promote lifelong learning. A framework for part-time work and similar set-ups can allow workers to retool or upskill without leaving the workforce,” Balisacan said.

The country’s employment rate, meanwhile, went up to 96.5 percent in February from 95.5 percent in January and 95.2 percent in February this year.

The number of employed persons was registered at 48.95 million, higher than the recorded number of employed persons in February 2023 at 48.80 million and in January 2024 at 45.94 million.

Major industries with the largest increase in employment include construction (470,000), transportation and storage (444,000), administrative and support service activities (344,000), manufacturing (313,000), and accommodation and food service activities (210,000).

Underemployed persons – or those who expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their current job or to have an additional job or to have a new job with longer hours of work – reached 6.08 million, down from last year’s 6.29 million.

The NEDA said the Marcos administration will continue to prioritize people-centered policies and attract job-creating investments to support the continued improvement of the Philippine labor market and enable Filipinos to earn higher wages from better jobs.

“The government remains resolute in creating an enabling policy and regulatory environment to attract employment-generating investments. We will also continue to implement measures to address bottlenecks and expedite processes to realize investment pledges, particularly in priority sectors holding much promise, such as renewable energy and critical minerals,” Balisacan said.

He said the Inter-Agency Investment Promotion Coordination Committee is currently coordinating the formulation of the medium- and long-term Foreign Investment Promotion and Marketing Plan.

“We also recognize that the fast-tracked implementation of the government’s infrastructure flagship projects, housing program, and recovery of the tourism sector contributed to positive employment outcomes,” he said.

To facilitate the development of soft and hard skills among workers and create a more agile and adaptive workforce, Balisacan said the government continues to advocate for the passage of the Apprenticeship Bill, Lifelong Learning Bill, and Enterprise Productivity Act.

Meanwhile, with the recent issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Trabaho Para sa Bayan Act, the government will start formulating the TPB plan, which will be the country’s master plan for employment generation and recovery. (PNA)