Philippine Labor Force Survey: January 1999

Reference Number: 1999-016
Release Date: March 12, 1999


Philippines January
Total 15 years old & over (in 000) 47,719 47,415 47,114 46,812 46,512
Labor force (in 000)
Participation rate (%)
Employment (in 000)
Rate (%)
Unemployment (in 000)
Rate (%)
Underemployment (000)
Rate (%)
  • Labor force in January 1999 increased by 3.1 percent to 31.2 million from 30.2 million last year with 679 thousand addition to the employed and 249 thousand increment to the unemployed.
  • Employment in services in January 1999 increased by 4.3 percent over the level a year ago.
  • Employment in agriculture continued to improve from the April 1998 fall.
  • Employment in industry decreased by 2.7 percent in January 1999.


Persons aged 15 years old and over...

  • Persons aged 15 years old and over increased by 2.6 percent or 1.207 million from 46.512 million persons in January 1998 to 47.719 million in January 1999.

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

  • The labor force population which is comprised of the employed and the unemployed increased by 928 thousand or 3.1 percent over January 1998. This placed the January 1999 labor force at 31.168 million. The number of persons joining the labor force generally increases when there is a great need to work during times of economic difficulty or when there is a general perception in a growth period that work is available in the labor market.
  • Those who were not in the labor force like housewives, students, disabled and retired persons increased by 1.7 percent to 16.6 million from 16.3 million a year ago.
  • The labor force participation rate, or the ratio of those who joined the labor force to those who were aged 15 years old and over, increased to 65.3 percent in January 1999 from 65.0 percent in January 1998.

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

  • Of the 928 thousand addition to the labor force in January 1999, about 73.2 percent or 679 thousand were added to the employed while the remaining 26.8 percent or 249 thousand joined the unemployed. Although the employment level in January 1999 is 2.5 percent higher than last year, the corresponding employment rate dropped by 0.6 percentage point from 91.6 percent in January 1998 to 91.0 percent this year.
  • On the other hand, unemployed persons increased by 9.8 percent to 2.8 million in January 1999 from 2.6 million in January 1998. Correspondingly, the unemployment rate increased to 9.0 percent from 8.4 percent a year ago.

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

  • Most of the increase in employment came from the services sector with wage and salary and own-account workers contributing much to the increase.
  • The number of workers in agriculture sector also increased especially among wage and salary workers.
  • The employment in industry declined due to the decrease in the number of wage and salary workers.

In agriculture, fishery and forestry...

  • The increase of 286 thousand or 2.6 percent in agriculture, fishery and forestry sector from 11.02 million in January 1998 to 11.31 million in January 1999 was due to wage and salary workers. This class of workers gained 220 thousand or a 9.3 percent increase. Unpaid family workers increased by 1.3 percent or 39 thousand and own-account workers by 0.4 percent or 25 thousand.

In services...

  • Major gains in employment were contributed by community, social and personal services (205 thousand), wholesale and retail trade (146 thousand), and transportation, storage and communication (106 thousand). An increase of 58 thousand was reported in financing, insurance, real estate and business services. The wage and salary workers of the service sector registered an increase of 4.4 percent or 330 thousand; own-account workers, 2.8 percent or 110 thousand; and unpaid family workers, 11.9 percent or 78 thousand.

In industry...

  • The industry sector posted a decline of 2.7 percent from 4.6 million in January 1998 to 4.4 million in January 1999. Employment dipped from January 1998 to January 1999 in construction by 90 thousand, mostly wage and salary workers. Manufacturing also decreased by 24 thousand; mining and quarrying by 12 thousand. On the other hand, electricity, gas and water increased by 4 thousand.
  • The wage and salary workers of the industry sector decreased by 112 thousand while unpaid family workers declined by 21 thousand. Only own-account workers managed to register a 1.3 percent growth of 10 thousand.

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

  • All categories posted employment increases as the number of wage and salary workers increased by 436 thousand or 3.2 percent; own-account workers, by 144 thousand or 1.4 percent; and unpaid family workers, by 99 thousand or 2.6 percent.
  • From January 1998 to January 1999, the wage and salary and unpaid family workers increased both in terms of levels and proportion to total employment. The share of wage and salary workers increased by 0.4 percentage point from 48.6 percent to 49.0 percent while that of unpaid family workers increased by 0.1 percentage point. The share of own-account workers to total employed decreased by 0.4 percentage point from 37.8 percent in January 1998 to 37.4 percent in January 1999.

The employed by region...

  • Fifteen (15) of the sixteen (16) regions registered employment gains ranging from three thousand to 134 thousand. Notable gain was recorded in the National Capital Region (134 thousand). Western Visayas was next with an increase of 89 thousand. Ilocos Region posted the lowest increase of three (3) thousand from 1.546 million last year to 1.549 million this year. Only the Cordillera Administrative Region registered a decline in employment by 8 thousand.
  • Only four (4) of the (16) regions showed increases in employment rates with Eastern Visayas and Western Mindanao posting the same increase of 0.3 percentage point, from 92.4 percent to 92.7 percent and 93.5 percent to 93.8 percent, respectively.

The employed by number of hours worked...

  • Full-time workers or those who worked for 40 hours and over increased both in terms of level and proportion to total employment. The number of full-time workers increased by 454 thousand (2.6%) from 17.6 million last year to 18.0 million this year. Its share to total employment also increased by 0.1 percentage point from 63.5 percent in January 1998 to 63.6 percent in January 1999.
  • Likewise, employed persons working less than 40 hours increased to 9.9 million from 9.7 million but its share to total employment decreased by 0.1 percentage point from 35.0 percent to 34.9 percent.

The employed by occupation...

  • Only the production workers, transport equipment operators and laborers posted a decline of 39 thousand (-0.6%). All the other groups registered increases in employment with agricultural workers posting the highest increment of 306 thousand (2.8%). Sales workers registered second at 160 thousand, followed by service workers at 102 thousand.

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

  • The number of underemployed persons in January 1999 increased to 6.3 million from 6.0 million last year. Likewise, the rate increased to 22.1 percent from 21.6 percent a year ago. A greater proportion of underemployed persons (61.6%) resided in rural areas than in urban areas (38.4%). Majority of the underemployed in the rural areas worked for less than 40 hours (60.0%).
  • Around 48.0 percent of the underemployed were in agriculture, fishery and forestry. This figure was lower than 49.0 percent last year. Underemployment in industry increased by 74 thousand or 7.6 percent and services by 139 thousand or 6.7 percent.

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

  • The number of unemployed persons in January 1999 rose from the level of 2.6 million in January 1998 to 2.8 million this year.
  • Likewise, the national unemployment rate in January 1999 rose to 9.0 percent from 8.4 percent last January 1998.
  • Among regions, the National Capital Region registered the highest unemployment rate of 15.7 percent with Central Luzon ranking second at 10.2 percent. The other regions recorded single-digit unemployment rates with the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao posting the lowest at 3.3 percent.

Labor Force by Year

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