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MANILA, Philippines - Around 10.4 million Filipinos remained jobless in the first quarter of 2017 under the Duterte administration, the latest survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed.
The SWS March 25-28 poll found the country’s unemployment rate at 22.9 percent or an estimated 10.4 million adults.
This, however, was lower than the 25.1 percent – an estimated 11.2 million adults – registered in December 2016. It was 0.6 points above the annual average of 22.3 percent in 2016.
The jobless Filipinos consisted of 11.2 percent (estimated 5.1 million adults) who resigned or voluntarily left their jobs; 8.6 percent (about 3.9 million adults) who involuntarily lost their jobs; and 3.1 percent (around 1.4 million adults) first-time job seekers.
The proportion of those who resigned was down a point from 12.2 percent in December, while those who were retrenched hardly moved from 8.7 percent.
The 8.6 percent who were retrenched consisted of 5.1 percent whose previous contracts were not renewed, 2.7 percent laid off and 0.8 percent whose employers closed operations.
The proportion of first-time job seekers fell by 1.2 points, from 4.3 percent.
Joblessness among women fell by nine percentage points from 40.2 percent in December 2016 to 31.2 percent in March.
Among men, adult joblessness rose by 2.6 points from 14.1 percent in December 2016 to 16.6 percent in March 2017. It dropped among 35-44 year olds, but rose among 18-24 year olds.
Unemployment fell by 9.6 points among 35-44 year olds, from 24.2 percent in December to 14.7 percent in March.
It also fell by 5.3 points among 25-34 year olds, from 35.1 percent to 29.9 percent. However, it rose by 9.2 points among 18-24 year olds, from 38.1 percent to 47.3 percent.
It also rose by 1.6 points among those 45 years old and above, from 15.4 percent to 17 percent, the highest since 19 percent in December 2014.
The SWS March survey also showed a lower net optimism on job prospects in the next 12 months that was nevertheless deemed “high.”Optimism that there will be more jobs in the next 12 months fell to 44 percent in March from 48 percent in December.
Those who believed there will be fewer jobs in the same period rose to 15 percent from 12 percent, while those who said there will be no change in job availability hardly moved to 27 percent from 28 percent.This still yielded a “high” +29 net optimism on job availability in March, though eight points and one grade down from the record-high “very high” +37 logged in December 2016.
The SWS classifies as “very high” a net optimism score of at least +30; +20 to +29 as “high;”+10 to +19, “fair;” +1 to +9, “mediocre;” -9 to zero, “low;” as well as -10 and below as “very low.”
The SWS nationwide survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults and had sampling error margin of plus or minus three percentage points. Results of the poll were published in the newspaper BusinessWorld yesterday, coinciding with the observance of Labor Day, the first under the Duterte administration.
The Duterte administration claimed credit for the dip in the rate of adult joblessness, calling it an “affirmation of the significant strides” in its effort to achieve inclusive growth.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella yesterday said the government’s infrastructure program would create new jobs and economic activities.
Bello explained the billions worth of government infrastructure projects are expected to reduce unemployment rate by almost half. “The billions worth of construction activities can create about two million new jobs and we expect unemployment rate to drop from the current 6.5 percent to maximum of 3 percent.”