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Ranks of jobless Filipinos swell in Jan. 2021, but situation slightly differs per gender

By CHUCK SMITH Published Mar 09, 2021 5:01 am

The number of jobless Filipinos increased in January from a year ago, even as the employment situation continued to reflect gender disparities.

The preliminary results of the January 2021 Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that the labor force participation rate—the proportion of the working-age population that is looking for work or currently working— remains higher for men than for women.

For men, the labor force participation rate in January 2021 is at 73.9%. For women, it is at 46.9%.

The January 2021 employment rate for men was 91.3%, and 91.2% for women.

The unemployment and underemployment rates for men stood at 8.7% and 17.6%, respectively.


For women, the unemployment rate was 8.8% while the underemployment rate registered at 13.4%.

The majority of the women working in January 2021 were employed in the wholesale and retail industry at 33.6 percent, while 26.1 percent of the employed men worked in the agriculture and forestry industry. 

The average hours in a week rendered for work for both male and female was 39.3 hours in January 2021. Women worked slightly longer hours—40 mean hours worked in a week, compared to the 38.9 mean hours worked by men. 

Overall, in January, around four million people were unemployed in January 2021—higher than the 3.8 million number of unemployed people in October 2020 and the 2.4 million unemployed in January 2020. 

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, 45.2 million people are currently part of the country’s labor force.

This means around 41 million out of the 45.2 million Filipinos in the labor force were employed in January 2021.

In the same period, 6.6 million people were underemployed.

This comes after the PSA reported that around 4.5 million Filipinos were unemployed in 2020. That accounts for an unemployment rate of 10.3%—the highest annual unemployment rate since April 2005. The unemployment rate in 2019 was at 5.1%.

The PSA said this reflects “the effect of the various community quarantine restrictions, business closures and physical distancing measures that were put in place in the Philippines starting March 2020 amid the pandemic.”

During the PSA press conference today, Usec. Mapa noted the gradual opening of the economy certainly helps in allowing more people to participate in the labor force.

While the unemployment rate in October 2020 and January 2021 are the same, January 2021’s 73.9% labor participation rate is slightly higher compared to October 2020’s 72.3 percent. This means that more people joined, or showed, intent to join the country’s workforce.