Employment rate in January 2017 is estimated at 93.4 percent

Reference Number: 2017-029
Release Date: March 14, 2017

Results from the January 2017 Labor Force Survey (LFS)


January 2017a/ January 2016
Population 15 years and over (in 000) 69,414 67,889
Labor Force Participation Rate (%) 60.7 63.6
Employment Rate (%) 93.4 94.3
Unemployment Rate (%) 6.6 5.7
Underemployment Rate (%) 16.3 19.6

a/ Estimates for January 2017 are preliminary and may change.


The employment rate in January 2017 was estimated at 93.4 percent.  Four regions, namely, Ilocos Region (91.3%), National Capital Region (NCR) (91.5%), Caraga (91.5%), and CALABARZON (91.8%) had the lowest employment rates (Table 4).  The labor force participation rate (LFPR) in January 2017 was estimated at 60.7 percent given the labor force population of 69.4 million.  The labor force population consists of the employed and the unemployed 15 years old and over.

Workers were grouped into three broad sectors, namely, agriculture, industry and services sector.  Workers in the services sector comprised the largest proportion of the population who are employed.  These workers made up 57.1 percent of the total employed in January 2017 (Table 1).   Among them, those engaged in wholesale and retail trade or in the repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles accounted for the largest percentage (35.2%) of workers in the services sector (Table 2).

 Workers in the agriculture sector comprised the second largest group making up 25.5 percent of the total employed in January 2017, while workers in the industry sector made up the   smallest group registering 17.4 percent of the total employed.  The January 2017 LFS results also showed that in the industry sector, workers in the manufacturing  subsector  made  up  the  largest  group, accounting for 48.0 percent of workers in this sector, and those in construction, the second largest group, making up 47.0 percent (Tables 1 and 2).

Among the occupation groups, workers in the elementary occupations remained the largest group making up 25.4 percent of the total employed in January 2017 (Table 1).  Managers comprised the second largest occupation group (16.9%), followed by service and sales workers (15.4%), and skilled agricultural, forestry, and fishery workers (13.4%).

Employed persons fall into any of these categories: (1) wage and salary workers, (2) self-employed workers without any paid employee, (3) employers in own family-operated farm or business, and (4) unpaid family workers.  Wage and salary workers are those who work for private households, private establishments, government or government-controlled corporations, and those who work with pay in own family-operated farm or business.  In January 2017, the wage and salary workers made up 62.8 percent of the total employed, with those working in private establishments continuing to account for the largest share (Table 1).  They made up 49.1 percent of the total employed in January 2017.  The second largest class of workers were the self-employed making up 27.2 percent of the total employed in January 2017.  Unpaid family workers accounted for 6.3 percent of the total employed.

Employed persons are classified as either full-time workers or part-time workers.  Full-time workers refer to those who worked for 40 hours or more during the reference week, while those who worked for less than 40 hours were considered part-time workers.  Of the total employed persons in January 2017, 64.8 percent were full-time workers, while 34.2 percent were part-time workers (Table 2).  In this round of LFS, workers worked 41.3 hours per week, on average.

By definition, 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.  In January 2017, the underemployment rate, which is the percentage of the underemployed to the total employed, was estimated at 16.3 percent (Table 4).

Underemployed persons who work for less than 40 hours in a week are called visibly underemployed persons.  They accounted for 58.5 percent of the total underemployed in January 2017 (Table 3).  By comparison, the underemployed persons who worked for 40 hours or more in a week made up 40.0 percent.  By sector, 46.9 percent of the underemployed worked in the services sector, while 32.8 percent were in the agriculture sector.  Those in the industry sector accounted for 20.3 percent (Table 3).

The unemployment rate in January 2017 was estimated at 6.6 percent.  Among the regions, Ilocos Region (8.7%), National Capital Region (NCR) (8.5%), Caraga (8.5%), and CALABARZON (8.2%) were the regions with the highest unemployment rates (Table 4).

Among the unemployed persons in January 2017, 69.6 percent were males.  Of the total unemployed, the age group 15 to 24 years comprised 44.1 percent, while the age group 25 to 34, 29.6 percent.  By educational attainment, 16.5 percent of the unemployed were college graduates, 14.6 percent were college undergraduates, and 31.1 percent were high school graduates (Table 3).



National Statistician and Civil Registrar General



Technical Notes


  • 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 January 2012 LFS, the codes for industry adopted the 2009 Philippine Standard Industrial Classification (PSIC).  Prior to this, codes for industry used the 1994 PSIC.
  • Question on vocational course was introduced in the January 2012 LFS questionnaire.
  • Starting April 2016 round, the Labor Force Survey (LFS) adopted the 2013 Master Sample Design, with a sample size of approximately 44,000 households.
  • The 2012 Philippine Standard Occupational Classification (PSOC) was adopted starting April 2016.  The 1992 PSOC had been used prior to April 2016.
  • Starting with the April 2016 LFS round, the population projections based on the 2010 Census of Population and Housing (2010 CPH) was adopted to generate the labor force statistics.
  • Starting January 2017 round, Computer Aided Personal Interviewing (CAPI) using Tablet was utilized in the LFS enumeration.
  • Overseas Filipino Workers are not considered part of the labor force in the Philippines.  Hence, in the LFS, data on economic characteristics of household members who are overseas workers are not collected.  For the LFS reports, they are excluded in the estimation of the size of working population, that is, population aged 15 years and older, and in the estimation of the labor force.

Labor Force by Year

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Mechelle M. Viernes
Income and Employment Statistics Division 
Social Sector Statistics Service
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