FEWER FILIPINOS worked in overseas job markets last year, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA’s 2019 Survey on Overseas Filipinos counted 2.202 million working overseas last year from 2.299 million in 2018.

The 2019 survey also indicated that contract workers accounted for 96.8% of the total while the remaining 3.2% were working without a contract.

OFWs in elementary occupations made up 39.6% of the total, against 37.1% a year earlier. Service and sales workers followed with a 17.5% share, against 18.8% in 2018.

Declines were noted in the following segments: professionals (8.5% in 2019 from 9% in 2018); clerical support workers (3.4% from 3.8%); craft and related trade workers (8.1% from 9.2%); and plant and machine operators and assemblers (12.2% from 13.8%).

Bucking the trend was skilled agricultural forestry and fishery workers whose 0.8% share of the total in 2019 was bigger than the 0.2% recorded in 2018. The share of OFW managers also declined, to 1.07% from 1.1% earlier.

Remittances from OFWs fell to P211.89 billion from P235.86 billion a year earlier.

“Data on remittances in this report are based on the answers given by the survey respondents to the questions on how much cash remittance was received by the family during the period April to September 2019 from a family member who is an OFW and how much cash did this member bring home during the reference period, if any,” the PSA said.

“Further, if the family received during the reference period goods and products sent by this OFW, the imputed value of such goods was included in his/her total remittance.”

The survey was conducted on persons working overseas between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2019.

The largest proportion of OFWs came from Calabarzon at 20.7% of the total, followed by Central Luzon (13.3%), the National Capital Region (9.7%) and Western Visayas (9%).

Saudi Arabia continued to be the leading destination with around 22.4% of OFWs, followed by the United Arab Emirates (13.2%), Hong Kong (7.5%), and Taiwan (6.7%). — Jobo E. Hernandez