Philippine Labor Force Survey April 1998 Over April 1997

Reference Number: 1998-029
Release Date: June 16, 1998



  • There was an increase of 745 thousand persons (2.4 %) in the labor force from April 1997 to April 1998.
  • There was no net absorption of the increase in the labor force into the ranks of the employed. The number of the unemployed increased by 1.015 million (31.1 %). The number of employed decreased by 270 thousand (1.0 %) during the period.
  • Employment in agriculture fell by 1.168 million (10.1 %): wage and salary workers by 43 thousand; own-account workers by 477 thousand; and unpaid family workers by 648 thousand.
  • Employment in industry went up by 65 thousand (1.4 %): gains of 24 thousand own-account workers and 45 thousand unpaid family workers and a loss of 4 thousand wage and salary workers.
  • Employment in services increased by 833 thousand (7.1 %): addition of 421 thousand wage and salary workers, 380 thousand own-account workers, and 31 thousand unpaid family workers.
  • Despite the increase of 374 thousand (2.8 %) wage and salary workers due to the gain in the services sector, total employment fell because of the losses in unpaid family workers amounting to 571 thousand (13.3 %) and own-account workers numbering 72 thousand (0.7 %) mainly in the agriculture sector.



  • There were about 46.8 million persons aged 15 years and older.
  • Of this, about 32.1 million persons joined the labor force in April 1998, representing an increase of 745 thousand (2.4 percent) over the estimate a year ago. However, the corresponding labor force participation rate or the proportion of the working age population who actively participated in the labor market was estimated at 68.6 percent, decreasing slightly by 0.2 percentage point from 68.8 percent last year.
  • Those who were not in the labor force numbered to 14.7 million in April 1998, increasing by 446 thousand (3.1 percent) from 14.3 million a year ago. These persons included housewives, students, disabled and retired persons.


  • The April 1998 national employment rate was 86.7 percent, which is the lowest since April 1991 (85.6 percent). Almost all regions exhibited decreases in employment rates with the National Capital Region (NCR) posting the lowest employment rate at 81.1 percent from 85.5 percent last year. However, Cagayan Valley posted the biggest decline of 6.7 percentage points in employment rate from 91.9 percent in April 1997 to 85.2 percent this year. Only Central Luzon posted an increase in employment rate at 88.1 percent, increasing by 0.3 percentage point over the estimate last year. The employment rate in Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) remained at 92.0 percent.
  • In terms of levels, the number of employed persons was estimated at 27.8 million, decreasing by 1.0 percent or 270 thousand over the 28.1 million in April 1997.
  • Despite the decrease in employment at the national level, four regions managed to post increases in employment levels with Central Luzon leading them. This region posted an increase of 3.2 percent, from 2552 thousand to 2634 thousand. This was followed by Southern Tagalog, which posted an increase of 70 thousand; Western Mindanao, 13 thousand; and NCR, 6 thousand.
  • Broken down by sector, most of the groups in the industry and services sectors registered increases both in terms of levels and proportion to total employment. The industry sector recorded an increase of 65 thousand (1.4 percent), with the manufacturing sector posting the highest increase of 36 thousand in terms of levels. This was followed by construction (27 thousand), and electricity, gas, and water (6 thousand). In terms of percentage, electricity, gas, and water posted the highest increase of 4.3 percent.
  • The services sector registered an increase of 831 thousand (7.1 percent). Under this sector, the community, social, and personal services recorded the highest increment of 496 thousand (9.7 percent), followed by wholesale and retail trade (6.9 percent), and transportation, storage, and communication (5.1 percent).
  • The increases in employment in industry and services were offset by losses in agriculture, mining and quarrying, and financing, insurance, real estate and business services. These groups posted employment declines with the agriculture sector posting the biggest decline of 10.1 percent, followed by financing, 5.9 percent, and mining and quarrying, 3.0 percent.
  • Occupation-wise, while agricultural workers comprised the largest occupational group at 37.1 percent, its proportion to total employment declined by 3.7 percentage points from 40.8 percent in April 1997 to 37.1 percent in April of this year. Its number also decreased by 1.15 million (10.1 percent). The second largest occupational group was the production and related workers, transport equipment operators, and laborers (24.6 percent). Its number and proportion to total employed increased by 5.0 percent and 1.4 percentage points, respectively. Other groups with increased levels were administrative workers (15.8 percent or 81 thousand), service workers (13.3 percent or 353 thousand), and sales workers (5.4 percent or 216 thousand).
  • The number of wage and salary workers increased both in terms of level and proportion to total employment by 2.8 percent and 1.8 percentage points, respectively. Own-account workers slightly increased its share to total employment by 0.1 percent, from 37.1 percent in April 1997 to 37.2 percent in April of this year. However, its level decreased by 0.7 percent (72 thousand). On the other hand, unpaid family workers registered a decreasing share from 15.3 percent to 13.4 percent. Its number decreased by 13.3 percent (571 thousand).
  • Of the 13.8 million wage and salary workers, 34.9 percent were in the community, social, and personal services group and 16.8 percent were in agriculture, fishery, and forestry group. The least number of wage and salary workers was in mining and quarrying (0.7 percent).
  • Most of the wage and salary workers came from the NCR (19.6 percent). The Southern Tagalog Region came second with 15.4 percent, followed by Central Luzon, 11.7 percent, and Western Visayas, 8.8 percent.
  • In terms of hours worked, employed persons working less than 40 hours increased both in terms of level and proportion to total employment. Its number increased from 9.5 million in April 1997 to 9.7 million in April of this year, or from a share of 33.8 percent to 34.7 percent. Meanwhile, full-time workers or those who worked for 40 hours or more decreased by 3.5 percent. Its share to total employment also decreased from 64.0 percent to 62.3 percent.
  • A reduction both in the number and rate of underemployment was noted in April 1998. From 6.6 million last year, the level decreased to 5.8 million this year. Likewise, the corresponding underemployment rate dropped from 23.4 percent to 21.0 percent. The decrease in underemployment was contributed mostly by those who worked for 40 hours or more, decreasing by 23.0 percent from 3.3 million to 2.5 million.
  • Most of the underemployed was found working in rural areas (62.6 percent), of which 64.4 percent worked for less than 40 hours.
  • Of the total underemployed, 47.5 percent were reported working in agriculture, fishery, and forestry sector. The number and proportion to total underemployed decreased this year by 11.7 percent and 0.2 percentage point, respectively. The services sector made up 35.0 percent of total underemployed while the industry sector comprised 17.5 percent.
  • Wage and salary workers accounted for 46.1 percent of total underemployed, while 39.6 percent were own-account workers and unpaid family workers, 14.3 percent.


  • The April 1998 national unemployment rate rose to 13.3 percent, up by 2.9 percentage points from 10.4 percent last year. In terms of levels, the number increased to 4.3 million from 3.3 million, increasing by 31.1 percent.
  • Most of the regions registered two-digit unemployment rates with NCR posting the highest unemployment rate of 18.9 percent. Western Visayas and CARAGA ranked second and third at 16.8 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively. The regions with one-digit unemployment rates were CAR (8.0 percent), Western Mindanao (9.6 percent), and Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (9.4 percent).

Labor Force by Year

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Income and Employment Statistics Division 
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