The number of unemployed Filipinos decreased in November, but job quality continued to worsen as more employed Filipinos are still looking for more work, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported this morning.

The preliminary report of the PSA’s November round of the labor force survey (LFS) put the unemployment rate at 6.5%, compared with 7.4% in the October round.

This was the lowest jobless rate since the agency started releasing the report on a monthly basis in 2021. Including the quarterly releases, it was the lowest since the 5.3% recorded in January 2020.

In absolute terms, there were 3.159 million unemployed Filipinos that month, down from 3.504 million in October.

Meanwhile, the quality of available jobs declined as the underemployed rate – the proportion of those already working but still looking for more work or longer working hours — increased to 16.7% in November from 16.1% in October, equivalent to 7.617 million Filipinos from 7.044 million previously.

The underemployment rate in November was the highest in four months or since July’s 20.9%.

The size of the labor force was about 48.637 million in that month, down from 47.330 million in October. This brought the labor force participation rate to 64.2% of the working-age population from 62.6% previously.

The employment rate stood at 93.5% of the labor force in November, higher than 92.6% in October. This was equivalent to 45.477 million employed individuals during the period from 43.826 million previously.

In November, services sector accounted for 58.1% of total employment, higher than the 57.6% share in October.

Agriculture and industry made up 24.5% and 17.4% of the total, inching down from 24.6% and 17.8%. — Abigail Marie P. Yraola