MANILA (Mabuhay) – Around 11.5 million adult Filipinos were without work in the first quarter of 2014, according to a new survey by pollster Social Weather Stations.
The poll placed the first quarter jobless rate at 25.7 percent, a slight deceleration from 2013’s last quarter rate of 27.5 percent (12.1 million Filipinos).
The SWS pointed out that the joblessness rate has been above 20 percent since May 2005, except on three occasions.
Also, joblessness fell to a record low 5.4 percent in February 1998, and went up to a record high of 34.4 percent in February 2009.
The first quarter 2014 poll was taken from March 27 to 30, and used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide, with sampling error margins of ±3% for national, ±6% for regional percentages applying to the survey.
The SWS explained that the definition of joblessness they used differed with that used by the government.
The SWS joblessness figures are based on two traditional definitions: having no job at present and also looking for one. Those not working but are also not looking for a job, such as housewives and students, are excluded from the labor force.
In contrast, the government’s official Labor Force Survey defines the unemployed as those not working, are looking for work and are available for work.
“Those not available for work, even though looking, are excluded, and those available for work but are not seeking it (for reasons such as illness or waiting for results of a job interview, etc.) are included,” SWS noted.
Also, the SWS interviewed respondents at least 18 years old, while the official boundary is 15 years.
Using the government’s guidelines would have placed adult joblessness as of March to 17.1 percent, equivalent to about 6.9 million Filipinos.
Around 36 percent of poll respondents believed that the number of openings would increase in the next 12 months, while 32 percent said the situation would not change.
Another 23 percent said fewer jobs would be available.
This amounts to a net optimism score of “fair” at +13 (percentage of those who believe more jobs would be available, minus the percentage of those who believe there will be fewer jobs).
The net optimism score is six points down from the “fair” +19 in the last quarter of 2013.
Resigned, retrenched, first-timers
According to the SWS poll, of those who are jobless, 11.4 percent (5.1 million) resigned, 10.7 percent (4.8 million) were retrenched, and 3.3 percent (1.5 million) were first-time job seekers.
“Adult joblessness has traditionally been dominated by those who voluntarily left their old jobs and who lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control,” the SWS explained.
Of those retrenched, 6.4 percent said their contracts were not renewed, 2.2 percent said their employers closed shop, while two percent were laid off.
In December 2013, the number of those who quit “fell by 2.1 points from 13 percent,” while those who were retrenched rose from 10.4 percent. First-time job seekers “hardly changed” from 3.5 percent.
Sexes, age groups
Among the sexes and age groups, joblessness rose among women and those aged 35 to 44.
Joblessness among women rose 1.9 points to 37.8 percent. Among men, it fell by 4.7 points to 16.5 percent.
By age group, joblessness fell by 8.9 points among those 18 to 24 years old to 43.4 percent, and those aged 25 to 34 to 30.5 percent from 33.1 percent.
Joblessness declined as well among those aged 45 and above to 16.5 percent from 17.7 percent. However, it rose by 0.5 point to 25.5 percent among those aged 35 to 44. (MNS)