Jobless Filipinos at 2.22M in December 2022

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 8) — The number of Filipinos without work rose to 2.22 million in December from 2.18 million the month prior amid businesses hiring more workers for the holiday rush.

This is equivalent to a national unemployment rate of 4.3%, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Although more workers are expected to secure jobs during the fourth quarter of every year as businesses anticipate stronger demand from consumers, the country still recorded a slight jump in unemployment figures during the last month of 2022.

However, National Statistician Dennis Mapa said during a briefing on Wednesday that the difference between November and December figures was "not significant."

On the other hand, the latest data was an improvement from 3.28 million jobless Filipinos in December 2021.

Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate in December stood at 66.4%, translating to 51.22 million people either employed or looking for work.

The employment rate also dipped to 95.7% against November's 95.8%, with 49 million employed Filipinos.

The underemployment rate, on the other hand, fell to 12.6% from 14.4% in November, or about 6.2 million of employed persons wanting to work longer hours and secure better job opportunities.

Asked if unemployed and underemployed numbers would still climb amid a potential post-holiday slump, Mapa said it was "possible."

"May seasonality talaga 'yan. Normally October-December mataas ang participation rate dahil may activities na kailangan ng support, additional workers tulad sa malls," he said.

[Translation: There really is seasonality. Normally during October-December, the participation rate is high because there are activities that need support, additional workers like in malls.]

"Kapag pumasok ang buwan ng January, may nawawala at nare-retain. In the past, we are seeing that na may drop," he added.

[Translation: When the month of January enters, some workers are laid off and retained. In the past, we are seeing that there is a drop.]

For 2022, Mapa said the country's unemployment rate hit 5.4%, nearing the pre-pandemic level of 5.1% in 2019.

Meanwhile, PSA data also showed that the wholesale and retail trade recorded the highest increase in employment year-on-year, up by 993,000 to 10.93 million. It is followed by other service activities, administrative and support, accommodation and food, and transportation and storage.

Agriculture and forestry, on the other hand, logged the biggest drop in employment with losses of around 225,000 jobs, down to 10.29 million. Other industries which booked a decline in employment were human health and social work, public administration and defense, real estate activities, and professional, scientific and technical activities.