Fewer Filipinos unemployed but job quality remains a concern in July

LATEST labor data show the ranks of jobless Filipinos declined in July, but at the same time, the number of employed Filipinos wanting more work increased, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.

Preliminary results of PSA’s July 2021 round of the monthly Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed around 3.073 million unemployed Filipinos, down from 3.764 million in June and 4.569 million in July 2020.

Unemployment rate registered at 6.9% in July, down from the previous month’s 7.7% and last year’s 10%. This was the lowest since January 2020 when the jobless rate was recorded at 5.3%.

On the other hand, the underemployment rate — the proportion of those already working, but still looking for more work or longer working hours — worsened to 20.9% in July from 14.2% in June and 17.3% in July 2020.

The underemployment rate in July marked the highest reading since the PSA started releasing the LFS on a monthly basis. Including the quarterly releases, this was the highest since the 21% underemployment rate in July 2015.

The latest figure translates to 8.692 million underemployed Filipinos in July, up from 6.409 million the previous month and 7.136 million last year.

The size of the labor force was approximately 44.740 million in July, down from 48.840 million in June. This brough the labor force participation rate to 59.8% of the Philippines’ working-age population in July from 65% the previous month.

The employment rate went up to 93.1% in July from 92.3% in June. However, it was down in absolute terms with 41.667 million employed Filipinos in July compared with 45.075 million in June.

The rise in the employment rate despite a decline in the actual number of employed can be explained by the decline in employment being offset by the decline in the size of the labor force.

The service sector made up 57.9% of the total employment in July, slightly up from the 57.6% in June. The industry sector likewise saw its employment rate go up to 20% during the period from 18.1%.

On the other hand, agriculture had an employment rate of 22.1%, down from 24.3%. — Abigail Marie P. Yraola

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