12.4M jobless from Sept to Dec 2014 — SWS
Manila — The level of joblessness among adults nationwide barely moved in 2014 from a year ago despite an estimated 2 million Filipinos joining the ranks of the jobless at the end of last year, the latest Social Weather Stations report showed.
Average joblessness in 2014 was 25.4 percent, almost the same as 2013’s 25.2 percent. But between September and December, Filipino adults without jobs numbered 12.4 million, equivalent to a jobless rate of 27 percent, higher than 22.9 percent (10.4 million adult Filipinos) recorded in September.
The fourth quarter figure was the highest level in 2014 and the worst since December 2013’s 27.5 percent. The record-high quarterly joblessness was 34.4 percent posted in March 2012. Since then, it ranged between 21.7 percent and 29.4 percent.
The latest survey, conducted from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, interviewed 1,800 adults nationwide and used a margin of error of plus-or-minus 2 percentage points for national percentages. It was first published in BusinessWorld.
Meanwhile, optimism over the availability of jobs in the country improved.
In the December survey, 36 percent said more jobs would be available in the next 12 months, 20 percent said there would be fewer jobs, resulting in a net optimism score (percent of more jobs minus percent of fewer jobs) of +16, an increase from +12 (33 percent saying more jobs minus 22 percent saying fewer jobs) in September.
The percentage of those who said the number of available jobs would stay the same was 32 percent, hardly changed from 33 percent in the previous quarter.
The definition of SWS joblessness covers respondents aged 18 and over who are without jobs at present and are looking for work. This excludes those not looking for a job.
This is different from the government’s definition of unemployment in the Labor Force Survey (LFS), which includes persons 15 years and over and who are not working, looking for work and available for work. It includes those currently available for work but are not seeking work for reasons such as waiting for results of previous job applications, temporary illness, bad weather, waiting for rehire, and feeling tired or believe that no work is available.
The government’s latest LFS puts the official unemployment rate at 6 percent in October last year, the lowest in almost 10 years. This, however, did not reflect the employment situation Leyte, which was not covered by the survey. Leyte was one of the provinces badly hit when Supertyphoon “Yolanda” struck the Philippines in November last year. The devastation resulted in the loss of many livelihood and jobs in the area.
If the government’s definition would be applied, SWS said that adult joblessness among 18 years old and above as 2014 ended would be 17.9 percent, or an estimated 7.3 million Filipinos. This would consist of 7.2 million (17.6 percent) who were not working, looking for work and available for work, and 90,900 (0.2 percent) who were not working, not looking for work for the reasons stated above, but available for work./ with Inquirer Research.
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