THE LATEST government labor data showed the ranks of jobless Filipinos and those employed but wanting more work decreasing in October, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported this morning.

Preliminary results of the PSA’s October 2019 round of the Labor Force Survey put the country’s unemployment rate at 4.5%, down from the 5.1% recorded in the same survey round last year.

This is equivalent to 2.05 million jobless Filipinos, down from 2.203 million in October 2018.

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate – the proportion of those already working, but still looking for more work or longer working hours – improved to 13% from 13.3%. This translates to 5.615 million underemployed Filipinos, down from 5.502 million previously.

The latest unemployment and underemployment rates were the lowest among the October rounds of the LFS since the government adopted new definitions for the LFS in 2005.

The size of the labor force was approximately 45.196 million out of the 73.528 million Filipinos aged at least 15 years old, yielding a labor force participation rate of 61.5%. This was higher than last year’s 60.6%.

The employment rate, which is the proportion of the employed to the total labor force – inched up to 95.5% in October from 94.9% the previous year.

By major economic sector, services made up the largest share of the employed population. In October, the employment share in that sector improved to 57.7% from 56.8%.

The industry sector accounted for 18.9% of employed Filipinos in October, down from last year’s 19.1%.

Agriculture employed 23.5% of the workers, down from 24.1%. – Jobo E. Hernandez