MANILA, Philippines - Despite the Philippines' stellar 7.8% economic growth in the first quarter, the number of jobless Filipinos rose in April from a year ago.
Significant job losses in the agriculture sector due to extreme weather conditions pushed the country's unemployment rate to 7.5%, equivalent to 3.08 million Filipinos, in April from 6.9%, or 2.8 million Filipinos, in the same month of 2012, the National Statistics Office (NSO) reported Tuesday, June 11.
NSO administrator Carmelita Ericta and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) assistant director general Rosemarie Edillon said in a press briefing that 624,000 workers in agriculture-related services lost their jobs.
"There was a decline in employment mainly in agriculture. This is due to extreme weather conditions, particularly intense heat, and also the anticipation of farmers of El Niño," Edillon said.
The employment rate fell to 92.5%, equivalent to 37.82 million people, in April from 93.1%, or 37.84 million, in April 2012.
The underemployed, or those seeking more jobs or additional work hours, numbered 7.25 million, equivalent to 19.2% of the labor force, down from 7.31 million or 19.3% in April 2012.
The labor force expanded to 40.91 million from 40.64 million last year.
Agri vs other sectors
Job losses in the agriculture sector offset employment generated in the industry and services sectors. Industry generated 224,000 jobs, while services added 380,000. This resulted in a net loss of 21,000 jobs for the economy.
"One of the main challenges of the country is the seasonality of agricultural employment. Employment is bound to be adversely affected when there are natural disasters," said NEDA officer-in-charge (OIC) and deputy director general Emmanuel Esguerra.
Unemployed by age group
Included in the labor force population are persons 15 years and above.
High school graduates comprised bulk of the unemployed in April at 31.7%, followed by college graduates (21.3%) and college undergraduates (14.6%).
By age group, 48.2% were aged 15 to 24. - Rappler.com