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Labour Markets, Workforce and Employment Trends

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Migration and the informal sector economy is a major driving force of the Philippines’ economic growth and unique to the country’s dynamic and evolving of workforce. About 49 per cent of Filipinos aged 15 and older have migrated and total number of workforce recorded in the informal sector is about 21 million.[1]

Migrating to urban centres with a main goal to finding overseas employment is the norm. Many are engaged in domestic work, managing vendors or are in the textile or footwear sector. About 55 per cent of front-line workers have migrated from other areas of the country. Services dominate the labour-market, accounting for 59 per cent of those employed.[2]  Agriculture (22 per cent) and industry (19 per cent) are the sectors with the second and third highest employment rates.

In May 2022, 64 per cent of the population 15 years and over (49.01 million) were in the labour force.[3] Female labour-force participation rate in May 2022 continues to be lower than that of males, at 52.5 per cent.[4] Significant growth in wage and salary employment, growing at an average of 4.6 per cent annually, was observed from 2015 to 2019.[5]

While the unemployment rate declined to 4.2 per cent in November 2022 from 6.5 per cent a year earlier, labour-market recovery remains uneven and regional disparities persist. The pandemic has reduced the number of hours worked, as the share of part-time workers remains higher than before the pandemic. It also continues to put pressure on household incomes, which will likely cause an increase in poverty in the short-term.



[1] This is operationally defined to include all self-employed workers (excluding employers), unpaid family workers, and wage workers with no written contract, social insurance, or protection from dismissal. See: World Bank, "Philippine Economic Update - Moving Full Speed Ahead: Accelerating Reforms to Create More and Better Jobs" April 2016.


[5] PSA. (2018). Labor and Employment.