Nearly 3 million Filipinos jobless in January

Posted at 03/11/14 12:12 PM

MANILA – The Philippines' statistics agency on Tuesday said the country’s unemployment rate in January 2014 is at 7.5 percent, up from 7.1 percent in January 2013.

Among the regions, the National Capital Region (NCR) still has the highest unemployment rate.

There were nearly 3 million unemployed in the Philippines as of January 2014, up from 2.8 million in January 2013, the data showed.

The statistics office said the labor force participation rate was estimated at 63.8 percent, down slightly from the previous year's 64.1 percent.

There were 7.1 million underemployed in January, down from almost 7.5 million underemployed in January last year, with an underemployment rate of 19.5 percent.

Underemployment is defined as those with jobs but who want to work more.

Almost 60 percent of the underemployed employees worked for less than 40 hours a week, most of whom worked in the services and agriculture sectors.

Of the estimated 36.4 million people employed in January, more than half were in the services sector, 30 percent in agriculture and the rest were in industry.

Meanwhile, poverty incidence in 2012 was 25.2 percent, just slightly lower than the 26.3 percent poverty rate in 2009, the latest government data showed.

President Benigno Aquino wants to bring down the country's unemployment rate to 6.5-6.7 percent before he ends his six-year term in 2016.

He also wants to cut the underemployment rate to about 17 percent in 2016 and the poverty rate to 16.6 percent.

The economy grew nearly twice as fast as expected in the fourth quarter from the previous three months despite the devastating typhoon, suggesting growth will remain robust this year.

The government is targeting 6.5 to 7.5 percent growth in 2014 after growth of 7.2 percent in 2013.