October 1997 Philippine Labor Force Survey Highlights: October 1997 Over October 1996

Reference Number: 1997-066
Release Date: December 18, 1997



  • An estimated 30.3 million persons constituted the labor force population in October 1997, up by 2.1 percent (628 thousand), over the October 1996 level of 29.6 million persons. However, the corresponding labor force participation rate moved down slightly from 65.8 percent to 65.5 percent.
  • The number of persons who were not in the labor force which include housewives, students, disabled and retired persons increased by about half a million (553 thousand) this year. From 15.4 million in October 1996, it went up by 3.6 percent to 15.9 million in October 1997.


  • Total employment in October 1997 increased by 1.6 percent to 27.9 million from 27.4 million. However, the employment rate declined from 92.6 percent in October 1996 to 92.1 percent this year.
  • Eleven of the 16 administrative regions exhibited increases in employment levels with Western Visayas and Central Visayas posting the highest and second highest increases of 208 and 79 thousand, respectively. Eastern Visayas recorded the highest decline in employment levels at 55 thousand. The other regions which recorded decreases in employment levels were CARAGA (24 thousand), Ilocos Region (23 thousand), ARMM (11 thousand) and CAR (three thousand).
  • Employment in the agriculture sector went down to 11.3 million in October 1997, from 11.5 million last year. Its share to total employment also went down to 40.4 percent from 41.7 percent a year earlier.
  • The industry and services sectors recorded increases both in terms of level and proportion to total employment. The industry sector registered a 2.0 percent hike in employment levels (4.6 million to 4.7 million). Increases in employment were noted in electricity, gas and water (13.0 percent), mining and quarrying (7.8 percent), and construction (4.3 percent)
  • On the other hand, the services sector registered an increase of 4.8 percent or from a share of 41.6 percent to 42.8 percent (higher by 2.4 percentage points compared to agriculture). Increases in employment were noted in transportation, storage and communication (6.8 percent), community, social and personal services (5.5 percent) and wholesale and retail trade (3.9 percent).
  • Occupation-wise, the agricultural workers (farmers, animal husbandry and forestry workers, fishermen and hunters) continued to dominate the employed workforce (40.0 percent of total), followed by production workers and related workers, transport equipment operators and laborers (23.3 percent). However, the number of agricultural workers declined by 1.6 percent and its share to total employment also decreased by 1.3 percentage points. On the other hand, the number and proportion of production workers increased by 3.9 percent and 0.5 percentage point, respectively. Other occupation groups which registered increases in terms of levels were professional (0.9 percent), administrative (16.4 percent), sales (1.4 percent) and service (8.7 percent).
  • The share of wage and salaried workers to total employment increased from 47.7 percent last year to 48.6 percent. In terms of levels, the number increased by 3.6 percent. Own-account workers also recorded increasing share to total employment, from 37.5 percent to 38.2 percent, while unpaid family workers posted a decreasing share, from 14.8 percent to 13.2 percent.
  • Among regions, NCR accounted for the most number of wage and salaried workers (19.8 percent of total). Southern Tagalog came second (15.8 percent), followed by Central Luzon and Western Visayas (11.6 percent and 9.0 percent, respectively). Most of the own-account workers came from Southern Tagalog (12.5 percent of total). On the other hand, more unpaid family workers were found in Bicol (10.2 percent of total), Western Visayas (9.2 percent) and Ilocos Region (8.6 percent).
  • The number of employed persons who worked full-time or those who worked for 40 hours or more in October 1997 increased by 1.0 percent, from 17.9 million to 18.1 million. However, its share to total employment decreased from 65.3 percent to 64.9 percent.
  • The number (9.5 million) and proportion (34.1 percent) of employed persons working less than 40 hours of the current year increased in comparison to 9.3 million and 34.0 percent, respectively last year.


  • The number of underemployed increased from 5.3 million in October 1996 to 5.8 million this year, up by 9.0 percent. Correspondingly, the underemployment rate increased by 1.4 percentage points to 20.8 percent. A little over half (50.5 percent) of the total underemployed worked for less than 40 hours. Close to two-thirds (63.0 percent) of the total underemployed were still in the rural areas.
  • Of the 5.8 million underemployed, 50.4 percent were in agriculture, fishery and forestry. Compared to last year, the proportion went down by 1.6 percentage points. About 33.2 percent were underemployed in services workers while underemployment in industry was estimated at 957 thousand (16.5 percent).
  • Of the total underemployed, 46.9 percent were wage and salaried workers, 39.3 percent were own-account workers while unpaid family workers accounted for 13.7 percent.


  • The current unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent, slightly higher than 7.4 percent last year. In terms of levels, the number of unemployed persons increased by 8.3 percent or 182 thousand, from 2.2 million last year to 2.4 million in October this year.

Among regions, only the NCR posted a two-digit unemployment rate of 14.5 percent. It had the highest increase in unemployed persons (137 thousand) and the highest number of unemployed population at 598 thousand. Ilocos Region ranked number two with its unemployed increasing by 29 thousand, followed by Southern Tagalog (26 thousand).

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