• The labor market is showing greater signs of recovery from the setback brought about by the pandemic
  • The number of unemployed Filipinos in March are lower than in February
  • The underemployment rate in February was at 12.9% but in March, it dropped to 11.2%

The unemployment rate in the country decreased slightly in March with the most newly-employed persons recorded in the agriculture and forestry industries, a government survey said on Monday.

A nationwide survey conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) covering 11,093 households revealed that 4.7% of the workforce or some 2.42 million Filipinos were unemployed in March. This is lower than the 4.8% unemployment rate in February which translates to 2.47 million unemployed Filipinos in the said month.

The PSA survey in March also revealed a striking decrease in the underemployment rate in the country. In February, the figures were 12.9% but in March, it dropped to 11.2% - the lowest underemployment rate recorded since April 2005.

The labor market is showing greater signs of recovery from the setback brought about by the pandemic.

As the number of employed Filipinos increased, the survey found that the greatest number of jobs in March were in the agriculture and forestry industries at 23.5% and 17.5% of the total employed persons, respectively.

This was followed by the financial and insurance industries, manufacturing industry, human health and social work activities and information and communication industries, this Philippine Star report said.

Despite the rise in the number of employed Filipinos, economist Leonardo Lanzona, an economist at Ateneo De Manila University, said that jobs in the manufacturing and financial industries deemed by the government as "quality" jobs have gone down.

"It is hard to say where these jobs are coming from. It seems likely that the jobs being created are temporary and informal in nature...," he told the Philippine Star.

The top five sub-sectors with the highest increase in the number of employed persons in March were the transportation and storage industries, accommodation and food and service industries, wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles and construction, and other services industries.

"A significant amount of these can be in the gig sector. Most workers seem context to having any kind of job than nothing at all," Lanzona added.

Meanwhile, the number of jobseekers in March also decreased by 58,000 in contrast with the same month in 2022 when 461,000 Filipino jobseekers were recorded, the Philippine Daily Inquirer noted.

A worker installs steel rods at a construction site in Paranaque city, metro Manila, Philippines May 29, 2018.
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