Unemployment rate steadied in June, while job quality improved to its best in over a year, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Monday.

Preliminary results from PSA June round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS) showed unemployment rate at 6% in June, steady for the second straight month. It was also lower than the 7.7% posted in June last year.

The ranks of unemployed Filipinos slightly increased by 62,000 to 2.990 million in June from 2.927 million in May. However, it shrank by 781,000 from 3.770 million last year.

In the first half, PSA reported unemployment rate average at 6%, lower than the 7.8% average in 2021 and 10.4% average in 2020. However, this was still higher than the pre-pandemic average of 5.1%.

Meanwhile, employment rate steadied at 94% in June from May. This was higher than the 92.3% in June last year.

In absolute figures, employed Filipinos were up by 508,000 to 46.592 million in June from 46.084 million in May. This was also higher by 1.516 million from 45.076 million a year ago.

The quality of jobs improved in June as underemployment rate — the share of those already working, but still looking for more work or longer working hours to total employed population — decreased by 12.6% in June from 14.5% in May and 14.2% in June last year.

This was equivalent to 5.888 million Filipinos looking for more work or longer working hours, a 780,000 reduction from 6.668 million in May. It was also down by 522,000 from 6.410 million a year ago.

Underemployment rate in June was the lowest in 13 months or since the 12.3% recorded in May 2021.

The labor force size also went up by 570,000 to 49.581 million in June from 49.011 million in May. This was also higher by 735,000 from the 48.846 million labor force size in the same month last year.

This put the labor force participation rate — the share of labor force to the total population 15 years old and over — to 64.8% in June, higher than 64% in May, but lower than the 65.1% in June last year.

This is the highest LFPR in three months or since the 65.4% in March.

On a monthly basis, the number of new entrants to the Filipino workforce decreased by 237,000 to 980,000 in June. This translated to a 2% share of new entrants to the total labor force that month, slightly lower than 2.5% in May.

A Filipino workers worked an average of 40.3 hours a week in June, higher than the 39.8 hours a week in May and 39 hours a year ago.

Services sector remained the largest employer in June with 56.5% share, down from 59% a month ago.

It was followed by agriculture and industry with 24.5% and 19%, respectively.

The June round of LFS was conducted from June 8 to 28, covering 10,915 sample households. — Bernadette Therese M. Gadon