January 1998 Philippine Labor Force Survey Highlights: January 1998 Over January 1997

20 March 1998



  • The labor force population of the country in January 1998 reached 30.2 million, higher by 608 thousand or 2.1 percent over the January 1997 estimate. However, the corresponding labor force participation rate dropped from 65.4 percent in January 1997 to 65.0 percent this year.
  • The number of persons who were not in the labor force like housewives, students, disabled and retired persons increased by 3.7 percent totaling to 16.3 million persons from 15.7 million in January 1997.


  • The January 1998 employment level totaled to 27.7 million, an increase of 1.3 percent or 358 thousand over the 27.3 million in January 1997. However, this indicated that employment opportunities in January 1998 were not enough to absorb the increase of 608 thousand in the labor force population.
  • The employment rate also moved down from 92.3 percent in January 1997 to 91.6 percent this year.
  • Among the regions, Southern Tagalog registered the highest number of employed persons at 3.8 million, with the National Capital Region (NCR) ranking second with 3.5 million. Both Central Visayas and Southern Tagalog recorded the largest increases in employment levels at 80 thousand. The NCR with increases of 59 thousand and Western Visayas with 49 thousand followed. The Ilocos Region reported a decline at 30 thousand.
  • In terms of employment rate, increases were observed in the regions of Bicol (from 93.0% to 93.6%), Central Visayas (from 90.1% to 90.4%), Eastern Visayas (92.3% to 92.7%), Central Mindanao (from 94.6% to 95.3%) and CARAGA (from 92.5% to 92.7%). On the other hand, the NCR reported a decline of 2.9 percentage points in the employment rate.
  • Seriously affected among the industries was agriculture, fishery and forestry, declining from 11.4 million or a 41.7 percent share of total in January 1997 to 11.0 million or 39.8 percent share this year. Another similarly-placed sector was financing, insurance, real estate and business services which decreased by 4.6 percent or by 32 thousand workers during the same periods.
  • On the other hand, community, social and personal services registered the highest increase in terms of level (340 thousand) from 5.0 million in January 1997 to 5.4 million this year and in terms of employment growth (6.8%). The bulk of the increase in employment came from the own-account and unpaid family workers.
  • The increases in wholesale and retail trade (185 thousand or 4.6%) and transport, storage and communication (140 thousand or 8.3%) could be attributed to those of wage and salaried and own-account workers.
  • The employment gains in industry (covering mining and quarrying; manufacturing; electricity, gas and water; construction) which amounted to 100 thousand could be due mainly to the increase in wage and salaried workers in construction and in unpaid family workers in manufacturing.
  • The share to total employment of wage and salary workers increased from 47.5 percent in January 1997 to 48.5 percent this year. On the other hand, unpaid family workers registered a decreasing share, from 14.8 percent to 13.7 percent. The share of the own-account workers remained stable at 37.8 percent.
  • Of the 13.4 million wage and salaried workers, 19.9 percent came from NCR, 15.8 percent from Southern Tagalog, 11.8 percent from Central Luzon and 9.1 percent from Western Visayas.
  • In terms of hours worked, full-time workers or those who worked for 40 hours or more decreased by 0.7 percent from 17.7 million to 17.6 million. Its share to total employment also decreased from 64.8 percent to 63.5 percent.
  • Employed persons working less than 40 hours in January 1998 increased in terms of number (9.7 million) and proportion of employed persons (35.0%) compared to 9.3 million and 34.0 percent, respectively, last year.


  • Underemployment increased by 4.3 percent, from 5.8 million in January 1997 to 6.0 million this year. Likewise, the underemployment rate increased to 21.7 percent from 21.1 percent in January 1997. Of the total underemployed, 54.7 percent worked for less than 40 hours; 62.6 percent of these underemployed workers resided in the rural areas.
  • Of the total underemployed, 49.2 percent were reported working in agriculture, fishery and forestry. Compared to January 1997, the proportion of underemployed working in this sector dropped by 2.2 percentage points. The number of underemployed service workers and industry workers were recorded at 34.5 percent and 16.3 percent, respectively.
  • 46.5 percent of the 6 million underemployed persons worked as wage and salaried workers while 39.9 percent were self-employed or own-account workers. The remaining 13.6 percent were the unpaid family workers.


  • The unemployment rate in January 1998 was estimated at 8.4 percent. This was 0.7 percentage point higher than the estimate of 7.7 percent in January last year. In terms of levels, the number of unemployed persons increased by 10.9 percent, from 2.3 million last year to 2.5 million this year.
  • NCR was the only region that had a two-digit unemployment rate of 15.0 percent. It also reported the highest unemployed population of 619 thousand and a notable increase in jobless persons (144 thousand).


Releases by Year

Featured Video

Press Conference on December 2022 Labor Force Survey
Press Conference on December 2022 Labor Force Survey

Connect with us!