Currently, there were 2.26 million unemployed Filipinos as of September according to the Philippine Statistics Authority released on Wednesday (November 8).
The unemployment rate was 4.5% for the month, lower than the five percent recorded in the same period last year but slightly higher than the 4.4% unemployment rate posted in August this year.
Year-to-date, the unemployment rate averaged 4.6%, way below the 5.3 to 6.4% target for 2023.
Employment losses were observed in manufacturing (888,000), wholesale and retail trade (722,000), and agriculture and forestry sectors (649,000).
The manufacturing sector experienced a decline in new orders from abroad for the first time in nine months, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
Moreover, the decline in agriculture and forestry employment stemmed from recent weather disturbances, which disrupted various economic activities in the sector. This partly drove the decrease in employment opportunities.
The Marcos administration’s goal is to bring down unemployment to four to five per cent in 2028.
The country’s employment rate, on the other hand, was estimated at 95.5%. This was higher than the recorded employment rate in September 2022 at 95% but was slightly lower than the 95.6% estimate in August this year.
In terms of magnitude, employment reached 47.7 million in September, which is 83,000 higher than the same period last year.
Industry job generators for the month were accommodation and food service (608,000 jobs), administrative and support service (535,000), construction (481,000), transportation and storage (255,000), and fishing and aquaculture (193,000).
Meanwhile, the underemployment rate saw a significant drop to 10.7% in September, down from the 15.4% posted in September 2022. This drop is equivalent to 2.2 million fewer underemployed individuals.
Underemployed persons are those who expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, to have an additional job, or to have a new job with longer hours of work.
In a statement, the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) reiterated the government’s objective of pursuing high-quality job generation for Filipinos as labour market indicators continue to improve.
“The government is committed to improving the investment climate of the country to attract businesses that generate high-quality employment. We will continue to pursue enhancements to existing policies to address concerns in investments, particularly in infrastructure development in areas outside the National Capital Region,” said Neda Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
The Neda chief said the government will address job losses by building the resilience of the economy.
“In the coming months, the agriculture sector will likely be adversely affected by the strong El Niño. Guided by the El Niño National Action Plan, the government will implement more programmes to develop a more resilient agriculture sector. This will help minimise employment losses in the sector,” Balisacan said.
The agency added it will also push for digitalization and promote innovation in business, especially in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as they open more opportunities for high-quality and high-paying jobs for Filipinos.
“This will be supported by expanding training and re-skilling programmes for workers to meet the needs of these innovative businesses,” he added.
Moreover, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the National Government is working with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to help arrest inflation, which is crucial in maintaining macroeconomic stability.
He said the government is also continuously promoting investments to create more jobs by aggressively implementing existing structural reforms and supporting reforms needed to help improve the investment environment.
The government is also boosting its proactive responses to external developments to minimize the adverse effects of external shocks on the domestic economy.