ABOUT 12.4 million Filipinos were jobless in the last quarter of 2014, according to Quezon City-based research group Social Weather Stations (SWS).
In its November 27 to December 1 survey, SWS said the country’s unemployment rate reached 27 percent or equivalent to about 12.4 million Filipinos, the highest rate of joblessness recorded since the 27.5 percent posted in December 2013.
Joblessness rose across most age groups except among young workers, which fell to 48 percent from 50 percent. It went up to 32 percent from 30 percent among those aged 25-34, to 22 percent from 18 percent for the 35 to 44 age group, and to 19 percent from 15 percent among those aged at least 45 years old.
Joblessness among women soared to 41.7 percent from 33.2 percent, the highest since August 2012 when unemployment among women reached 42.5 percent.
The latest survey on joblessness has a sampling error margins of plus/minus two percent for national percentages; plus/minus six percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon and Mindanao, and plus/minus three percent for the Visayas.
The SWS, however, said the outlook for Filipino workers remains positive, adding that more jobs will be available within a year.
Its report revealed that the net optimism on job vacancies went up four points, from positive 12 to positive 16, in the third quarter.
Net optimism on job availability is the difference between respondents showing optimism that there will be job vacancies over pessimists who believe that there will be fewer jobs available (percentage of more jobs minus percentage of fewer jobs).
The SWS said 36 percent of the respondents in its September survey believe the number of available jobs in the next 365 days will rise, 32 percent (from 33 percent) said it will remain constant, and 20 percent (from 22 percent) said the number of positions available will drop.
Its definition of joblessness differs from that used by the government for its Labor Force Survey.
In the SWS survey, persons with jobs are those currently working, including unpaid family members.
The survey group noted that joblessness is based on two traditional qualifications, namely without a job at present and looking for a job and those not working. Those without a job but not looking for one (housewives, students, etc.) are excluded.
The government’s Labor Force Survey, on the other hand, defines the unemployed using three concepts: Not working, looking for work, and available for work.
Those not available for work, even though looking, are excluded and those available for work but not seeking it (for reasons such as illness or waiting for results of a job interview, etc.) are included.
Applying the government’s definition, the SWS said, joblessness among adults 18 years old and above as of end-2014 was 17.9 percent, equivalent to a about 7.3 million Filipinos.