The number of jobless Filipinos rose in August this year as recent graduates who joined the labor market had a hard time to get employment, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) revealed.
Based on the PSA preliminary results of the Labor Force Survey released on Thursday, Oct. 6, the country’s unemployment rate settled at 5.3 percent last August, translating to 2.68 million jobless persons in the country.
The total unemployed individuals aged 15 and above increased from 2.6 million, or 5.2 percent, in July, but dropped from 3.88 million in August 2021.
In a briefing, National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa said the increase in jobless persons was driven higher labor force participation that hit its highest level since the pandemic at 66.1 percent from 65.2 percent in the previous month.
Mapa said that some of the participants, particular those fresh from college belonging to age group 15 to 24 year-olds and 24 to 35 year-olds, failed to find jobs.
PSA data showed that persons in the labor force rose by 557,000 to 50.55 million during the month from 49.99 million in July.
Likewise, underemployment, or persons with jobs but have expressed desire to have additional hours of work, increased to 14.7 percent from 13.8 percent in July.
On the other hand, the agriculture sector, which accounts for 22.6 percent of total employment, shed around 265,000 employment year-on-year due to high fuel and fertilizer prices, African swine fever, bird flu, and weather disturbances.
In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said prioritizing investment opportunities in the productive sectors and strengthening the country’s human capital will translate to more high-quality and resilient jobs.
“We need to make sure that we are effectively implementing our disaster risk management measures, including social protection programs for communities affected by the recent calamities,” Balisacan said.
“Leveraging technology will improve preventive and responsive measures and mitigate possible labor market downturns in times of disasters,” he added.
Balisacan likewise cited the strategies for a more efficient labor market that will be outlined in the upcoming Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028 that includes improving the quality of education, providing opportunities for life-long learning, among others.
“We must further strengthen our policy interventions so we can generate more jobs, green jobs, and high-quality jobs that provide adequate income for Filipino workers and to attain significant poverty reduction. These are necessary steps towards achieving economic transformation,” he said.