By Ellalyn De Vera-Ruiz
Joblessness among adult Filipinos has declined to its lowest level in almost 14 years at 15.7 percent or 7.2 million adults, according to the Social Weather Stations (SWS) fourth quarter of 2017 survey results.
With 1,200 respondents, the nationwide survey conducted from Dec. 8 to 16, 2017 found joblessness down by 3.2 points from 18.9 percent (8.7 million adults) in the third quarter survey done in September 2017.
SWS pointed out that it is the lowest recorded joblessness rate since the 9.8 percent in March 2004.
The December 2017 adult joblessness rate consisted of those who voluntarily left their old jobs at 8.3 percent (3.8 million adults), those who involuntarily lost their jobs (or were retrenched) at 5.9 percent (2.7 million adults), and first-time job seekers, at 1.5 percent (691,000 adults).
SWS explained that the adult joblessness data refers to adults in the labor force, which include those with a job at present, plus those without a job at present and looking for a job.
The December 2017 survey found the adult labor force participation rate at 72.1 percent or an estimated 45.5 million adults.
This is a one-point decrease from the 73.1 percent (46.1 million adults) labor force participation rate in September 2017.
The proportion of those who resigned or left their old jobs voluntarily fell by 2.1 points, from 10.4 percent in September 2017 to 8.3 percent in December 2017.
Those who were retrenched declined by 0.7 points, from 6.6 percent in September to 5.9 percent in December.
The 5.9 percent who were retrenched consisted of 4 percent whose previous contracts were not renewed, 0.8 percent who were laid off, and 1.1 percent whose employers closed operations.
The proportion of first-time job seekers decreased by 0.4 points, from 1.9 percent in September to 1.5 percent in December.
Adult joblessness among men also decreased by 5.9 points from 13.5 percent in September 2017 to 7.6 percent in December 2017.
This is the lowest figure among men since the 8.8 percent in March 2004, SWS said. Among women, adult joblessness slightly rose by 0.2 points from 26.5 percent in September to 26.7 percent in December.
Adult joblessness fell by 5.2 points among the 18 to 24-year-olds, from 50.2 percent in September 2017 to 45 percent in December 2017. However, it rose by 2.6 points among the 25 to 34-year olds, from 21.3 percent in September to 23.9 percent in December.
The rate of joblessness decreased by 2.1 points among the 35 to 44-year-olds, from 12.8 percent in September to 10.7 in December. It fell by 5.3 points among those 45 years old and above, from 13.8 percent in September to 8.5 percent in December.
During the same survey period, respondents were asked, “Twelve months from now, do you think there will be more jobs, no change in available jobs, or fewer jobs?”
Optimism that there will be more jobs went up by eight points from 45 percent in September 2017 to 53 percent in December 2017, and the belief that there will be fewer jobs declined by six points from 18 percent in September to 12 percent in December.
The proportion of those who say there will be no change in job availability fell by three points from 27 percent in September to 24 percent in December.
This translates to a net optimism on job availability score (percentage more jobs minus percentage fewer jobs) by 13 points from a “high” +28 in September 2017 to a new record-high excellent +41 in December 2017.
It surpassed the previous record of high +37 in December 2016.