The numbers have spoken: the employment rate in the Philippines has hit a record low in July. According to the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the figure has gone down to 94.4% from 94.6% during the same period last year. That gives us an unemployment rate of 5.6% — the second lowest among all the July employment numbers since 2006 — and more than 2 million jobless people all over the country.

Based on the LFS results, the dip in our employment rate had been mostly caused by job losses in the services and agriculture sectors. These two are the largest workforce employers, accounting for 55.6% and 25.2% of the total employed workers, respectively.

Job losses and gains by sector

The biggest blow that the employment rate suffered came from the agriculture sector, whose employment losses reached 1.03 million. Aside from those who work in farming and livestock, the sector also covers people who are in hunting, forestry, and fishing.

On the other hand, the services sector reported to have shed 189,000 jobs during the last quarter. These include jobs in wholesale, retail, vehicle repair, transportation, and housekeeping. The services sector also consists of those who work in public administration, defense, food service, education, finance, health, social work, entertainment, scientific activities, and real estate.

But here’s the silver lining: the industry sector, which accounts for 19.2% of the total employed, reported to have generated 430,000 jobs. Majority of this sector comes from construction and manufacturing. It is also composed of workers in electricity and water supply, mining, quarrying, and waste management.

In terms of labor force participation rate (defined by PSA as the “proportion of total labor force to the total household population 15 years and over”), LFS data show a downtick of 2.6 percentage points, from 63.2% to 60.6%. This was attributed to the significant drop in the female labor force participation rate, which went down to 45.5% from 49.1% a year ago.

What about underemployment?

Despite the outstanding employment losses and the downturn in the labor force participation rate, the country managed to reduce its underemployment rate to 16.3% — its lowest in more than a decade.

In the context of the LFS, the underemployed consists of employed people want to have additional hours of work in their present job, an additional job, or a new job with longer working hours.

Government solutions

In a press release, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) expressed its concern over the plummeting employment rate and promised to improve the situation by pushing for reforms that are based on the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017 to 2022.

NEDA specifically eyes the government’s Build Build Build Program to generate more jobs and pave the way for more activities in the domestic economy. The said program aims to drive the creation of infrastructures and reduce poverty by 13 to 15% in 2022.

The government also believes that the implementation of the K-to-12 program will give the youth increased access to technical and vocational training programs. The programs are set to help future workers gain more skills and find more employment options.

Job openings at PhilJobNet

The results of the latest LFS may be painting a bleak picture of labor in the country, but they’re not necessarily saying there are zero opportunities. In fact, the number of vacancies at PhilJobNet, the online job-matching portal of the Bureau of Local Employment, a staff bureau of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), has recently reached 12,767.

Majority of the said vacancies are coming from the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, while a significant 1,406 of them represent a demand for medical professionals, particularly for nurses. The are also a number of openings for salespeople, waiters, customer service assistants, cashiers, and mechanics.

If you’re an HR leader who holds a stake in your company’s recruitment activities, you can use PhilJobNet to post vacancies and participate in upcoming job fairs all over the country. Enable your company to get the talent it needs and take part in curbing unemployment in the Philippines! This video shows you how PhilJobNet works for employers.


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