Philippine Labor Force Survey April 1999

Reference Number: 1999-033
Release Date: June 11, 1999

APRIL 1999 (Preliminary Results)


Philippines   April  
Total 15 years old & over (000) 48,024 47,719 47,415 47,114 46,812
Labor force Participation (000)
rate (%)
Employment (000)
Rate (%)
Unemployment (000)
Rate (%)
Underemployment (000)
Rate (%)
  • Labor force is 1.3 million more than in April 1998, bringing number of employed up by 1.7 million and increasing employment rate from 86.7 percent to 88.2 percent.
  • Agriculture sector leads gains in employment from April 1998 to April 1999.
  • Employment in services increases by 1.3 percent in April 1999 over April 1998.
  • Employment in industry declines in April 1999, decreasing by 170 thousand (or -3.5%).


Persons aged 15 years old and over...

  • Persons aged 15 years old and over reached 48.024 million in April 1999. This represents an increase of 1.212 million (or 2.6%) from 46.812 million last April 1998.

Of the 48.0 million persons 15 years old and over, there were those who joined the labor force...

  • The labor force population or the economically active population increased by 1.333 million (or 4.2%) from 32.111 million in April 1998 to 33.444 million in April 1999. This can be partly attributed to the new graduates entering the labor force.
  • Those who were not in the labor force decreased by 122 thousand (or -0.8%) to 14.6 million in April 1999 from 14.7 million a year ago. These include housewives, students, disabled and retired persons. This development also contributed to the increase in the labor force this year.
  • The estimated labor force participation rate this April 1999 was 69.6 percent compared to the 68.6 percent registered a year ago. This participation rate is the highest since April 1991.

Of the 33.4 million persons in the labor force, there were those who were employed and those who were not...

  • Along with the increasing labor force population, employment level increased from 27.8 million in April 1998 to 29.5 million in April 1999, which was an increase of 1.655 million persons (or 5.9%). Correspondingly, the employment rate increased by 1.5 percentage points to 88.2 percent in April 1999 from 86.7 percent in April 1998.
  • On the other hand, unemployed persons decreased by 322 thousand (or -7.5%) from 4.3 million in April 1998 to 4.0 million in April 1999. Likewise, the corresponding unemployment rate dropped by 1.5 percentage points from 13.3 percent to 11.8 percent.

Of the 29.5 million persons employed, there were those either working in agriculture, industry or services...

  • The agriculture, fishery and forestry sector absorbed most of the additional employed workforce with the number increasing by 1.656 million (or 15.9%) to 12.1 million in April 1999 from 10.4 million in April 1998. Its unpaid family workers contributed significantly to the increase.
  • The number of workers in the services sector also increased especially among unpaid family workers.
  • On the contrary, the industry sector suffered losses with all classes of workers posting decreases.

Of the 1.7 million addition to the employed in agriculture, fishery and forestry...

  • Unpaid family workers increased by 645 thousand (or 23.1%) from 2.8 million in April 1998 to 3.4 million in April 1999. Wage and salary workers increased by 509 thousand (or 22.0%), from 2.3 million to 2.8 million, while own-account workers increased by 503 thousand (or 9.4%) from 5.3 million in April 1998 to 5.8 million in April 1999.

Of the increase of 167 thousand in services...

  • Employment recorded an increase of 1.3 percent from April 1998 to April 1999 with unpaid family workers contributing to the increase by 129 thousand; wage and salary workers by 29 thousand; and own-account workers by 10 thousand.
  • Employment increased in wholesale and retail trade (108 thousand), transportation, storage and communication (44 thousand) and financing, insurance, real estate and business services (43 thousand). Employment in community, social and personal services however declined by 28 thousand (or -0.5%).

Of the 170 thousand decrease in industry...

  • Employment decreased by 3.5% with wage and salary workers decreasing by 77 thousand; own-account workers by 54 thousand; and unpaid family workers by 41 thousand.
  • Construction posted the biggest decrease of 115 thousand (or -6.8%), followed by manufacturing, 43 thousand (or -1.5%). Mining and quarrying also declined by 22 thousand (or -16.9%). Only electricity, gas and water managed a 6.9 percent increase.

Of the 29.5 million employed, there were those who were paid wages and salaries, worked on their own account , or worked for the family...

  • The additions to employed persons from April 1998 to April 1999 were contributed mostly by unpaid family workers as the number rose to 4.5 million (or 19.7%) in April 1999 from 3.7 million in April 1998. Wage and salary workers also increased by 463 thousand (or 3.4%) and own-account workers by 457 thousand (or 4.4%).
  • Both the wage and salary and own-account workers decreased in terms of proportion to total employment while increasing in terms of levels. The share of wage and salary workers declined from 49.4 percent in April 1998 to 48.2 percent in April 1999 while its number increased to 14.2 million from 13.8 million. Own-account workers decreased from 37.2 percent to 36.6 percent while the number increased from 10.3 million to 10.8 million. Only the unpaid family workers increased its share to total employment by 1.7 percentage points, from 13.4 percent to 15.1 percent. The number also increased by 735 thousand.

The employed by region...

  • In terms of levels, all regions registered employment gains ranging from 22 thousand to 236 thousand. A significant increase was seen in Western Visayas (236 thousand). This was followed by Northern Mindanao at 149 thousand, Cagayan Valley at 137 thousand and Central Luzon at 135 thousand. Southern Tagalog which had the largest number of employed persons was fifth with an increase of 128 thousand followed by Southern Mindanao with an increase of 120 thousand. The National Capital Region which had been experiencing declines in employment in the past managed an increase of 117 thousand. The least number of increase in employment was recorded in Cordillera Administrative Region at 22 thousand.
  • On the other hand, 14 of the 16 regions exhibited increases in employment rates with Cagayan Valley posting the highest increase of 5.3 percentage points from 85.2 percent in April 1998 to 90.5 percent this year, followed by Western Visayas, increasing by 5.2 percentage points from 83.2 percent to 88.4 percent.

The employed by number of hours worked...

  • Full-time workers or those who worked for 40 hours and over increased to 18.0 million in April 1999 from 17.3 million a year ago. However, its share to total employment declined by 1.1 percentage points, from 62.3 percent to 61.2 percent.
  • Employed persons working less than 40 hours increased both in number and proportion to total employment. The estimate of 9.7 million (34.7% of total) in April 1998 increased to 10.8 million (36.5%) in April 1999.

The employed by occupation...

  • Only the production workers,transport equipment operators and laborers and service workers posted declines in employment levels by 218 thousand and 48 thousand , respectively. All other groups registered gains in employment with the agricultural workers posting the highest at 1.7 million (16.1%). Sales workers were second at 141 thousand, followed by professional, technical and related workers at 94 thousand.

Of the employed, there were those who desired more hours of work, the underemployed...

  • The number of underemployed persons or those who desired additional hours of work increased both in terms of level and proportion to total employment. The number increased to 6.7 million in April 1999 from 5.8 million last year. The proportion also increased by 1.7 percentage points to 22.7 percent from 21.0 percent.
  • Almost 50.0 percent of the underemployed were in agriculture, fishery and forestry. Underemployment increased in industry by 110 thousand (10.8%) and services by 330 thousand (16.2%).

And there were those who looked for work and did not find any, the unemployed...

  • The unemployment rate in April 1999 was posted at 11.8 percent, lower than the reported unemployment rate in April 1998 by 1.5 percentage points.
  • The number of unemployed persons also decreased to 4.0 million from 4.3 million last year.
  • Among regions, the National Capital Region registered the highest unemployment rate of 18.3 percent. Only in Central Luzon and Western Mindanao did unemployment rates increase from 11.9 in April 1998 to 13.5 percent in April 1999 and from 9.6 to 9.7 percent, respectively.

Labor Force by Year

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