4.25 million jobless in Sept, unemployment now at new high of 8.9%


Unemployed Filipinos reached 4.25 million in September, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Based on the preliminary results of the September Labor Force Survey (LFS), the number of unemployed Filipinos increased by 370,000 in September from August 2021.

The unemployment rate also increased to 8.9 percent in September from 8.1 percent in August. This is considered the highest this year.  

“These results were expected as many parts of the country remained under stringent and blanket quarantines for most of the survey period. In particular, the modified enhanced community quarantine was extended in the National Capital Region (NCR) up to September 15,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua.

The higher unemployment rate, combined with the lower labor force participation rate, led to a net employment loss of 642,000.

The biggest driver of the net employment loss during the period was agriculture, as Typhoon Jolina affected some 30,000 hectares of agricultural land across the regions of Central Luzon, Calabarzon, MIMAROPA, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas, and contributed to the around 900,000 employment loss in the sector. This decline came after the sector regained 1.9 million employment in August.

In terms of underemployment, the PSA data showed there were 6.18 million Filipinos. This represented an unemployment rate of 14.2 percent, the second lowest reported in 2021 following the 12.3 percent in May 2021.

The PSA said the visible underemployment rate was registered at 10.1 percent, translating to 4.42 million visibly underemployed Filipinos. In August 2021, visible underemployment rate was reported at 10.4 percent.

“Visibly underemployed persons are those working less than 40 hours in a week and expressing the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or to have additional jobs, or to have a new job with longer working hours,” PSA explained.

The data also showed that those who are considered invisibly underemployed was estimated at 4.1 percent of the total employed individuals. In August 2021, this was registered at 4.2 percent.

Filipinos who are invisibly underemployed are working at least 40 hours in a week but still expressed the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or to have an additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.

Meanwhile, PSA said the services sector consistently remained as the dominant employment hub absorbing 57.8 percent of the total employed population in September 2021.

The agriculture and the industry sectors contributed 23.5 percent and 18.7 percent, respectively.

On a month-on-month change in the number of employed persons, the data showed the top five sub-sectors with the biggest increase in employment from August to September 2021 were the following:

a. Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles (353,000);
b. Public administration and defense; compulsory social security (118,000);
c. Education (115,000);
d. Construction (105,000); and
e. Administrative and support service activities (89,000).

PSA data showed the following were the top five sub-sectors with the largest drop in the number of employed persons from August to September 2021:

a. Agriculture and forestry (862,000);
b. Manufacturing (343,000);
c. Information and communication (126,000);
d. Mining and Quarrying (75,000); and
e. Real estate activities (69,000).

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