WHILE the number of jobless individuals increased from December 2022 to January 2023, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Saturday, March 11, 2023, said the country’s unemployment rate went down when comparing numbers “year-on-year.”

In a statement, Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said there are actually fewer jobless Filipinos when comparing January 2022 and January 2023.

“In terms of unemployment incidence, there is a notable decrease in the number of unemployed workers, from 2.95 million in January 2022 to 2.37 million in January 2023,” said Laguesma.

“The estimated rate of 4.8 percent is lower than the unemployment rate reported in the same month of 2022, which is 6.4 percent,” he added.

Laguesma issued the statement after reports came out on Thursday highlighting how the unemployment rate went up to 4.8 percent in January 2023, from 4.3 percent in December 2022.

Reports noted how it is the highest unemployment rate recorded since the five percent in September 2022.

According to Laguesma, the lower unemployment rate shows the continued improvement of the country’s economy.

“The result of the Labor Force Survey for January 2023 implies that the continuous improvement of the country’s health situation and the full opening of the economy contribute to the sustained growth potential of our labor market,” he said.

The labor chief, then, expressed commitment to continuously strengthen their efforts to raise the quality of human resources and ensure that the current and future workforce can adapt to the changing demands of the labor market.

“These efforts shall achieve our desired outcomes in terms of employment and mobility, and better respond to economic opportunities, which includes prioritization of upskilling and reskilling of the workforce, to equip them with higher competencies by expanding lifelong learning opportunities,” said Laguesma. (HDT/SunStar Philippines)