Jobless rate eases to 6%

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Oct down from 6.7% in Sept, 6.4% yr-earlier

Unemployment in the Philippines dropped in October from July, as well as from a year earlier, but while analysts acknowledged the improvement, they said they would keep watch on the increasing number of underemployed Filipinos in the months ahead.

The unemployment rate eased to 6 percent in October from 6.7 percent in July, when the last periodic survey was conducted, and from 6.4 percent in October 2013. The data came from the preliminary results of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Wednesday.

The PSA figures showed that employment also improved to 94 percent in October from 93.6 percent a year earlier.


However, the underemployment rate, or the percentage of the underemployed to the total employed, is estimated to have risen to 18.7 percent from 18.0 percent in October 2013.

The PSA considers employed persons who express a desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, or to have an additional source of income, or to have a new job with longer paid working hours, as underemployed.

Employed persons, on the other hand, are classified as either full-time workers or part-time workers. Full-time workers are those who work for 40 hours or more per week while part-time workers work for less than 40 hours per week.

“The drop in unemployment is a welcome development but it belies the shift of workers to part-time jobs or jobs that do not fit the skill set of those looking for work,” Nicholas Antonio Mapa, associate economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), said.

Mapa said that the concentration of employment in the services sector may have been the reason for the higher number of underemployed Filipinos for the period.

Based on the PSA data, workers in the services sector remained the largest proportion of the population who are employed. These workers made up 53.7 percent of the total employed in October 2014.

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