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Unemployment rate rises 6% in May

The country’s unemployment rate went up to a three-month high of 6% in May while job quality deteriorated, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday morning.

Preliminary data from the statistics agency showed this was higher than the jobless rate of 5.7% in April, but remained lower than 7.7% in May last year.

It was the highest unemployment rate recorded since the 6.4% recorded in February this year.

May’s unemployment rate was equivalent to 2.927 million jobless Filipinos in May, up 165,000 from 2.762 million in April.

Job quality deteriorated as the underemployment rate — the proportion of those already working but still looking for more work or longer working hours to the total employed population — rose to 14.5% in May from 14% in April.

It was the highest underemployment rate in two months or since March’s 15.8%.

In absolute terms, this translated to 6.668 million underemployed Filipinos in May, 269,000 more than the 6.399 million the previous month.

The size of the labor force in May was approximately 49.011 million, up by 618,000 from 48.393 million in April. This brought the labor force participation rate (LFPR) to 64% of the country’s working-age population in May improving from 63.4% the previous month.

New entrants to the labor force reached 1.216 million in May, higher than 1.148 million in April.

The employment rate was recorded at 94% in May from 94.3% in April. This was equivalent to 46.084 million employed people in May from 45.631 million previously.

Services sector remained the top employer in May after recording employment rate of 59%, a bit higher than 58% in April. Industry also improved a bit to 19% from 18.4%.

However, employment rate in agriculture eased to 22% in May from 23.6% in April.

On average, an employed Filipino worked 39.8 hours a week in May, decreasing from the 40.1 hours logged the previous month, but higher than the 39 hours in May last year. — A. O. A. Tirona

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