Unemployed increasing in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 3.1 million Filipinos were jobless in April, with the country’s jobless rate rising to 8%, despite faster-than-expected economic growth, according to the latest Labor Force Survey of the National Statistics Office (NSO).

The NSO said the unemployment rate was higher than the previous 7.3% recorded in January, representing 2.8 million unemployed Filipinos for the month. It was also higher than the 7.5% jobless rate recorded in April 2009.

The jobless rate last touched the 8% mark in April 2008.

The statistics office did not specify a reason for the sharp jump in the jobless rate, though the total labor force inched down to 38.5 million in April from 38.8 million in January.

Underemployed workers — or those who want to work longer hours — fell to 6.3 million, or 17.8%, from 7.1 million in January. It was the lowest rate since October 2008.

About 59% of the under-employed worked for less than 40 hours a week, mostly coming from the agriculture sector.

The jobless rate climbed despite strong economic growth of 7.3% in the first quarter, the fastest since the second quarter of 2007 and beating market and government estimates. Seasonally adjusted growth in the January to March quarter was the highest in 22 years.

The Philippines has one of the highest jobless rates in Southeast Asia. With a report from Reuters

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