July 1997 Philippine Labor Force Survey Highlights: July 1997 over July 1996

Reference Number: 1997-052
Release Date: September 26, 1997



  • An estimated 30.2 million persons joined the labor force in July 1997, increasing by 497 thousand or 1.7 percent over 29.7 million last year. However, the corresponding labor force participation rate dropped from 66.3 percent to 65.7 percent.
  • The number of persons who were not in the labor force like housewives, students, disabled, retired persons and those who did not look for work increased by 4.5 percent to 15.8 million from 15.1 million in 1995.


  • Total employment summed up to 27.5 million, slightly up by 0.4 percent over last year. Compared to April 1997, employment decreased by 574 thousand.
  • The largest increases in employment levels were recorded in the National Capital Region (59 thousand), Southern Mindanao (43 thousand), Western Visayas (41 thousand) and Ilocos Region (40 thousand). On the other hand, employment declined in the Bicol Region (41 thousand), Northern Mindanao (39 thousand), CARAGA (35 thousand), and Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao [ARMM] (20 thousand).
  • Despite the 112 thousand increase, the corresponding employment rate dropped by 1.2 percentage points, from 92.5 percent last year to 91.3 percent this year.
  • Employment in agriculture was down to 11.0 million in July 1997 from 11.7 million last year or to a share of 39.9 percent from 42.6 percent. On the other hand, an increase of 6.6 percent to 11889 from 11155 last year or a share of 43.3 percent from 40.7 percent was registered in services. This can be attributed to the increased share of community, social and personal services from 18.0 percent in 1996 to 19.4 percent this year.
  • In industry, increases in employment were also noted in mining and quarrying (4.7 percent) and construction (7.5 percent). Employment in manufacturing and electricity, gas and water declined by 2.1 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively.
  • By major occupation, agricultural workers (farmers, animal husbandry and forestry workers, fishermen, and hunters) and production workers (transport equipment operators, laborers and related wokers) remained the biggest occupational groups in the employed workforce (39.6 percent and 23.5 percent, respectively). However, the number and proportion of agricultural workers declined compared to July 1996. On the other hand, the proportion of production and related workers increased by 0.5 percentage point compared to last year.
  • Meanwhile persons employed as service, administrative, sales and clerical workers increased both in number and proportion.
  • Wage and salaried workers showed an increasing share relative to total employment, from 47.2 percent last year to 50.6 percent this year. On other hand, own-account and unpaid family workers registered decreasing shares, from 37.9 percent to 36.4 percent and from 14.9 percent to 13.1 percent, respectively.
  • Of the 13.9 million wage and salaried workers, 19.6 percent came from NCR, 15.6 percent from Southern Tagalog, 11.8 percent from Central Luzon and 8.9 percent from Western Visayas. Most of the own-account workers came from Southern Tagalog Region (12.1 percent). It was also observed that there were more own-account workers than wage and salaried workers in the following regions: Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Bicol, Eastern Visayas, Western Mindanao, Central Mindanao, ARMM and CARAGA.
  • In terms of hours worked, full-time workers or those who worked for 40 hours or more increased by 4.8 percent from 18.0 million last year to 18.9 million. Its share to total employment also increased by 2.8 percentage points.
  • Employed persons working less than 40 hours decreased both in terms of level and proportion to total employment. Its number decreased from 9.1 million last year to 8.4 million or from a share of 33.4 percent to 30.4 percent.


  • Underemployed persons in July 1997 increased by 7.5 percent, from 5.9 million last year to 6.3 million. Of the total underemployed, 54.9 percent worked for 40 hours and over. Underemployment was higher in the rural areas than in urban areas by a marked difference of 1.6 million.
  • Most of the underemployed were in agriculture, fishery and forestry (3.0 million or 47.7 percent of total). Compared to last year, the proportion went down by 2.3 percentage points. Services came second with 2.2 million (35.2 percent of total), while underemployment in industry was estimated at 1.1 million (17.1 percent of total).
  • About 48.7 percent of the underemployed were wage and salaried workers. Around 38.0 percent comprised own-account workers while unpaid family workers accounted for 13.3 percent.


  • The unemployment rate in July 1997 was 8.7 percent, higher than the estimate of 7.5 percent last year. NCR and Central Luzon recorded two-digit unemployment rates of 14.1 and 10.5 percent, respectively.

In terms of levels, the number of unemployed persons increased by 17.2 percent, from 2.2 million last year to 2.6 million this year. The highest increases were noted in NCR (130 thousand), Western Visayas (58 thousand) and Southern Tagalog (50 thousand).

Labor Force by Year

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