By Ferdinand Patinio, November 9, 2023; Philippine News Agency

MANILA – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Thursday said it sees an improvement in the country’s employment figures in the last quarter of this year.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma told reporters this is due to an anticipated uptick in economic activities especially during the holiday season.

At the same time, the DOLE chief cited a decrease in the country’s underemployment rate.

“Note, however, that the underemployment rate has decreased from 11.7 percent to 10.7 percent. This is quite significant because this is indicative that there are now more workers with more regular, permanent and remunerative jobs,” Laguesma said.

“In fact, if you read the report, there are more fixed wage/salaried workers. Moreover, a big part of the unemployed was due to less self-employed and unpaid workers,” he added.

Based on the results of the latest Labor Force Survey released on Wednesday, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 4.5 percent in September this year from 5 percent in the same month last year.

National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the number of unemployed Filipinos during the month fell to 2.26 million from 2.5 million in the same period last year.

The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) was at 64.1 percent, or about 49.93 million Filipinos aged 15 years and above who were either employed or unemployed.

The same survey also showed the manufacturing sector lost an estimated 888,000 jobs, the wholesale and retail trade sector lost 722,000 jobs, and the agriculture and forestry sector lost 649,000 jobs.

Laguesma, meanwhile, said the result of the latest survey “reflects the volatility and seasonality of our labor markets aggravated by some adverse climate weather conditions and climate change that specifically affected the agriculture.”

He said the reduction of employment in the manufacturing sector can be attributed to supply chain concerns, as well as input and borrowing costs issues.