Unemployment Rate Posted at 7.7 Percent in January 2009 Results from the January 2009 Labor Force Survey (LFS)

Reference Number: 


Release Date: 

Tuesday, March 17, 2009




The number of employed persons in January 2009 was estimated at 34.3 million. This placed the employment rate at 92.3 percent, which is not significantly different from the estimate reported last year at 92.6 percent. The National Capital Region (NCR) posted the lowest employment rate at 86.0 percent. Aside from NCR, CALABARZON (89.1%), Central Luzon (90.3%), Ilocos Region (91.5%), and Central Visayas (92.2%) had employment rates lower than the national employment rate.

Out of the estimated 58.7 million population 15 years old and over in January 2009, about 37.1 million persons were reported to be in the labor force, placing the labor force participation rate at 63.3 percent. The labor force participation rate registered last year was 63.4 percent. Among the regions, MIMAROPA registered the highest labor force participation rate at 69.4 percent and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) posted the lowest at 55.9 percent.

Of the estimated 34.3 million employed persons in January 2009, more than one-half (51.2%) worked in the services sector, with those employed in wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles, motorcycles and personal and household goods sub-sector comprising the largest sub-sector (19.4% of the total employed). Workers in the agriculture sector accounted for 34.6 percent of the total employed, with those engaged in the agriculture, hunting and forestry sub-sector making up the largest sub-sector (30.5% of the total employed). Only 14.2 percent of the total employed were in the industry sector, with the manufacturing sub-sector making up the largest percentage (8.3% of the total employed).

Among the various occupation groups, laborers and unskilled workers registered the largest group at 31.9 percent of the total employed persons in January 2009. Farmers, forestry workers and fishermen were the second largest group, accounting for 17.3 percent of the total employed.

Employed persons fall into any of these categories: wage and salary workers, own account workers and unpaid family workers. Wage and salary workers are those who work for private households, private establishments, government or government corporations and those who work with pay in own-family operated farm or business. More than half (52.3%) of the employed persons were wage and salary workers, more than one-third (35.4%) were own-account workers, and 12.3 percent were unpaid family workers. Among the wage and salary workers, those working for private establishments comprised the largest proportion (38.7% of the total employed). Government workers or those working for government corporations comprised only 8.1 percent of the total employed, while 5.2 percent were workers in private households. Meanwhile, among the own-account workers, the self-employed comprised the majority (31.3% of total employed).

Employed persons are classified as either full-time workers or part-time workers. Full-time workers are those who work for 40 hours or more while part-time workers work for less than 40 hours. In January 2009, six in every 10 employed persons were full-time workers, with those working for 40 to 48 hours having the highest proportion (39.3% of the total employed). Part-time workers comprised 36.3 percent of the total employed.

Employed persons who express the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or to have additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours are considered underemployed. The number of underemployed persons in January 2009 was estimated at 6.2 million or an underemployment rate of 18.2 percent. Around 3.8 million or 60.8 percent of the total underemployed persons were reported as visibly underemployed or working less than 40 hours during the reference week. Those working for 40 hours or more accounted for 36.1 percent. Most of the underemployed were working in the agriculture sector (47.0%) and services sector (37.9%). The underemployed in the industry sector accounted for 15.1 percent.

The unemployment rate in January 2009 was estimated at 7.7 percent compared to 7.4 percent posted in January last year. Among the regions, the highest unemployment rate was recorded in the NCR at 14.0 percent.

More males (64.1% of total unemployed) were unemployed than among females (35.9%). By age group, for every 10 unemployed persons, five (49.2%) were in the age group 15 - 24 years while three (30.3%) were in the age group 25 - 34.

Across educational groups, the unemployed were comprised mostly of high school graduates (32.7%), college undergraduates at about one-fifth (22.2%), while the college graduates, 18.3 percent. 



Technical Notes 

  • Starting with the July 2003 round of the Labor Force Survey (LFS), the generation of the labor force and employment statistics adopted the 2003 Master Sample Design.
  • Using this master sample design, the number of samples increased from 41,000 for LFS conducted from January 1997 to April 2003 to around 51,000 sample households for July 2003 and subsequent rounds of the LFS.
  • The 1992 four-digit code for Philippine Standard Occupational Classification (PSOC) and 1994 Philippine Standard Industrial Classification (PSIC) were used in classifying the occupation and industry. The Philippine Standard Classification of Education (PSCED) was also used in coding the educational attainment.
  • Starting April 2005, the new unemployment definition was adopted per NSCB Resolution Number 15 dated October 20, 2004. As indicated in the said resolution, the unemployed include all persons who are 15 years and over as of their last birthday and are reported as: (1) without work and currently available for work and seeking work; or (2) without work and currently available for work but not seeking work for the following reasons:

1.) Tired/believed no work available

2.) Awaiting results of previous job application

3.) Temporary illness/disability

4.) Bad weather

5.) Waiting for rehire/job recall

  • Starting with the January 2007 LFS round, the population projections based on the 2000 Census of Population was adopted to generate the labor force statistics. This is in compliance with NSCB Resolution No. 1 series of 2005 entitled "Adoption of the Methodology Used in Generating the 2000 Census of Population and Housing-Based National Population Projections".

Source:       Income and Employment Statistics Division

Household Statistics Department

National Statistics Office

Manila, Philippines


-Page last revised: March 17, 2009