LATEST LABOR data show more Filipinos have entered the labor force as well as a decline in the ranks of those employed but who were seeking more work.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, preliminary results of the July 2019 round of the Labor Force Survey showed the country’s unemployment rate at 5.4%, steady from the figure in the same round last year.

This is equivalent to 2.43 million jobless Filipinos compared to 2.33 million in July 2018.

The increase in the number of unemployed despite the steady unemployment rate can be explained by the increase in the labor force participation rate (LFPR), which is defined as the percentage of the total number of persons in the labor force to the total population 15 years old and over.

In July, the country’s LFPR stood at 62.1%, more than 60.1% a year ago. This is equivalent to 45.38 million Filipinos in the labor force out of the 73.13 million Filipinos 15 years and older.

Similarly, the employment rate remained steady at 94.6% in July albeit the number of employed Filipinos increased to 42.95 million from 40.65 million previously.

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate – the proportion of those already working, but still looking for more work or longer working hours – improved to 13.9% from 17.2%.

By economic sector, services made up the majority of the employed population at 57.8%, more than 57.5% in the same period last year.

Meanwhile, employment share for the agriculture sector edged up to 23.5% from 23.1%.

On the other hand, the employment share for the industry sector went down to 18.7% from 19.4%.