The country’s unemployment rate steadied on a monthly basis in February but remained the lowest level in since the coronavirus pandemic started tempered by the expanding Filipino workforce, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported this morning.
Preliminary results of the agency’s February 2022 round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed around 3.126 million unemployed Filipinos, higher than January’s 2.925 million but lower from February of last year’s 4.187 million.
This put the February unemployment rate at 6.4%, unchanged from the previous month’s jobless rate but smaller than February last year’s 8.8%.
This was the lowest share of the unemployed to the total Filipino labor force in over two years or since the 5.3% in January 2020
The underemployment rate — the proportion of those already working but still looking for more work or longer working hours — improved to 14% in February from the 14.9% in January and remained smaller than the 18.2% in the same month last year.
This translated to 6.382 million underemployed Filipinos, or 14,654 less than the 6.397 million in January.
The February underemployment rate was the lowest in nine months or since the 12.3% in May last year.
The size of the labor force was estimated at 48.606 million in February, 2.66 million more from January’s 45.943 million. Likewise, this was also larger than the 47.341 million in February last year. This brought the labor force participation rate (LFPR) to 63.8% in February.
The employment rate — the proportion of the employed to the total labor force — was recorded at 93.6% in February. This was the same as the 93.6% rate in January this year but higher than the 91.2% in February last year.
In absolute terms, this was equivalent to 45.480 million employed persons in February versus the 43.018 million and 43.153 million in January and February last year, respectively.
A Filipino worker worked for an average of 40.8 hours a week in February, lower than 41.8 hours in January but marginally higher than 38.9 hours a year ago.
Services remained the largest employer in February, accounting for 58.2%. This was lower than 58.9% share the previous month. It was followed by agriculture (23.9% from 21.7%) and industry (17.9% from 19.3%).
The February round of LFS was conducted from Feb. 8 to 28. — Ana Olivia A. Tirona