Jobless rate climbs to 7.7% in January

Published by rudy Date posted on March 18, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – The National Statistic Office (NSO) reported yesterday that there are now 2.855 million jobless Filipinos in January as the local unemployment rate increased to 7.7 percent owing to the global economic crisis.

Results of the latest NSO survey showed that the number of unemployed Filipinos rose from an estimated 2.675 million in January last year to 2.8 million this year.

The NSO did not explain the rise but a series of high profile factory closures may have contributed to the increase.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), however, said the increase of 180,000 unemployed workers is still considered a “pleasant” development for the country.

“We are really expecting an increase in unemployment because of the global economic crisis, yet the survey indicated that the unemployment level did not worsen dramatically,” Labor assistant secretary Reydeluz Conferido said.

 “Overall, the effect of the crisis is positive compared to more developed countries like the United States and China which suffered an all- time high increase in unemployment,” Conferido pointed out.

Conferido said the number of employed workers went up by 1.7 percent from 33.69 million last year to 34.69 million this year or an additional 565,000 employed persons in the labor force.

He added that the number of underemployed or those employed persons who have expressed their desire for extra jobs dropped by 130,000 from last year’s 6.23 million.

The number of “employable” Filipinos but are not in the labor force rose to half a million, but Conferido said, the growth is considered a positive development.

 “These people15 years old and above are not in the labor force possibly because they are in schools or undergoing training,” Conferido said while noting that based on the NSO survey the education sector posted employment growth in January.

Conferido further noted that the number of people in full time employment went down by 174,000, but part-time employment increased from 11 million a year ago to 12 million.

“The increase in part-time employment indicates that Filipinos are opting to work even temporarily to tide them over from the economic crisis and this is very acceptable development,” he pointed out.

The NSO survey showed that young people or those belonging to 15 to 24-years-old dominate the unemployed and nearly two out of three were men.

Majority of the unemployment were high school graduates and undergraduates.

Conferido said that the Metropolitan Manila, Southern Tagalog, Central Luzon and Central Visayas, where most of the country export firms are located, have registered the highest unemployment rate.

Conferido said results of the survey was consistent with the data gathered by DOLE, which indicated that about 80,000 people have lost their jobs due to the economic crisis.

About 51.2 percent of those employed worked in the services sector while agricultural workers made up 34.6 percent of the total with only 14.2 percent in the industrial sector.

Unskilled workers registered the largest group at 31.9 percent of the employed in January 2009. Farmers, forestry workers and fishermen were the second largest group, accounting for 17.3 percent of the total.- Mayen Jaymalin, Philippine Star

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