By Filane Mikee Cervantes, December 21, 2023; Philippine News Agency

MANILA – The number of jobless Filipinos eased to 7.9 million in September 2023, according to a survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS).

The survey, from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, found that the adult joblessness rate fell to 16.9 percent, which is 5.8 points lower than the 22.8 percent recorded in June 2023 or around 10.3 million adults.

Adults who are jobless consist of those who voluntarily left their old jobs, are seeking jobs for the first time, or lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control or got retrenched.

The pollster noted that the 5.8-point decline in the national joblessness rate was due to decreases in the joblessness rate in all areas, particularly highest in Balance Luzon at 20.8 percent, followed by Metro Manila at 19.2 percent, Mindanao at 12.4 percent, and the Visayas at 12.2 percent.

The September 2023 survey found adult joblessness slightly higher in urban areas at 18.0 percent than in rural areas at 15.7 percent.

Compared to June 2023, urban joblessness fell from 24.7 percent, while rural joblessness dropped from 21.0 percent.

There is still higher joblessness among women at 21.1 percent compared to men at 14 percent.

Joblessness has also been consistently highest among the 18 to 24-year olds at 34.4 percent compared to other age groups.

The same poll also found adult joblessness to be highest among college graduates at 25.6 percent, followed by junior high school graduates at 19.1 percent, followed by elementary graduates at 14.5 percent, and non-elementary graduates at 3.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the SWS also pointed out that the incidence of involuntary hunger was twice as high among families of jobless adults at 17.7 percent than among families of those with a job or livelihood at 8.6 percent.

The third quarter Social Weather survey was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The sampling error margins are ±2.8 percent for national percentages, and ±5.7 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.