JOBLESSNESS eased in the last three months, with the number of unemployed Filipinos going down by 1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to the latest Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey.
The pollster said its survey from December 8 to 16 found the jobless rate at 15.7 percent, or roughly 7.2 million jobless adults.
This was 3.2 points down from 2017’s third quarter figure of 18.9 percent or around 8.7 million adults.
SWS also pointed out that the fourth quarter joblessness rate was the lowest since 2004’s first quarter rate of 9.8 percent.
Jobless adults in the fourth quarter, SWS said, consisted of 8.3 percent or about 3.8 million adults, who involuntarily lost their jobs; 5.9 percent or about 2.7 million adults, who were retrenched; while 1.5 percent or about 691,000 adults, who were first-time job seekers.
During the previous quarter, 2017’s third quarter, 10.4 percent voluntarily left their jobs, 6.6 percent involuntarily lost their jobs, and 1.9 percent were first-time job seekers.
The survey defines adult joblessness as the adult population in the labor force who are without a job at present and looking for one.
The SWS also found that adult labor force participation in the fourth quarter was down a point to 72.1 percent, or 45.5 million adults, compared to the previous quarter’s 73.1 percent.
Among 18-24 year olds, joblessness was down to 45 percent during 2017’s fourth quarter, compared to the previous quarters 50.2 percent, and 2017’s second quarter rate of 60.8 percent.
Among 25-34 year olds, joblessness rose to 23.9 percent during the fourth quarter, compared to the previous quarter’s 21.3 percent.
The jobless rate slowed among 35-44 year olds, down to 10.7 percent in fourth quarter from 12.8 percent in the third quarter.
It also slowed among those 45 years old and above, to 8.5 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter’s 13.8 percent.
Among men, joblessness slowed from 2017’s third quarter figure of 13.5 percent to the fourth quarter’s 7.6 percent — the slowest rate among men since Q1 2004’s 8.8 percent.
However, the joblessness rate among women accelerated slightly to 26.7 percent during the fourth quarter, from the previous quarter’s 26.5 percent.
Meanwhile, optimism that there would be more jobs rose to 53 percent during 2017’s fourth quarter, up eight points from the previous quarter’s 45 percent.
Pessimism that there would be fewer jobs was down to 12 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to the previous quarter’s 18 percent.
Those who thought there would be no change in job availability dropped to 24 percent during 2017’s last quarter, down three points from the third quarter’s 27 percent.
Net Optimism on Job Availability (percentage of those who believed there would be more jobs minus percentage of those who thought there would be fewer jobs) was thus at an “excellent” +41 during 2017’s fourth quarter – a record high.
The SWS survey used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide. Sampling error margins of ±3 percent for national and ±6 percent for area percentages applied to the survey.