Unemployment Rate Eases to 4.5% in October, Says PSA

Workers wait for a ride as some businesses reopen despite limited public transportation on May 18 in Quezon, a city in Metro Manila.  
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MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reports that the number of unemployed Filipinos decreased to 2.24 million in October, marking the lowest unemployment rate in two years.

PSA Chairman Dennis Mapa announced during a press briefing that the unemployment rate in the Philippines dropped to 4.5 percent in October from 5.0 percent in September, when the anticipated number of unemployed was 2.5 million. 

Meanwhile, the number of Filipinos who were underemployed dropped from 7.33 million (15.4%) in September to 6.67 million (14.2%) in October. 

Mapa said that the average rate of underemployment from January to October is 14.4%, which is lower than the full-year rate of 16% in 2021. 

“Last quarter kasi, medyo marami tayong mga economic activities because of the holiday season, so expected naman ito na bumaba ‘yung ating unemployment rate, nasa 4.5% na lang. And we hope that this will continue.”

PSA Chairman Dennis Mapa

(In the last quarter, there were a lot of economic activities because of the holiday season, so a decrease in the unemployment rate to 4.5% was expected. And we hope that this will continue.)

The PSA explained that the average rate of unemployment so far this year is 5.6%, higher than the average rate of COVID-19 in 2019, which was 5.1%. The transportation and storage sector added 239,000 jobs, which was the most in any major industry such as manufacturing, education, administrative and support service activities, and construction. 

These industries also saw the second-to-fourth-largest drop in jobs: wholesale/retail trade and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; public administration and defense; mandatory social security; arts, entertainment, and recreation; and real estate activities. 

The PSA also declared that between July and October, 511,000 jobs were lost in the agriculture and forestry sector.

“May mga regions kung saan walang activities dito sa dalawang subsectors na ito kaya sila nag-contribute. Again, this is a factor ng seasonality doon sa agri sector,” Mapa said.

(There were regions with no activities in these two subsectors, that’s why they contributed to unemployment. Again, this is a factor of seasonality in the agriculture sector.)

Since July 2022, PSA data showed that both the national employment rate and the unemployment rate have gone back to where they were before the pandemic.

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