WATCH | SWS 2017 Q4 Survey: Adult joblessness falls to 15.7%


The Fourth Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey, done on December 8-16, 2017, found adult joblessness at 15.7% (est. 7.2 million adults).

This is 3.2 points below the 18.9% (est. 8.7 million adults) in September 2017, and is the lowest recorded joblessness rate since the 9.8% in March 2004.

The December 2017 adult joblessness rate consisted of those who voluntarily left their old jobs at 8.3% (est. 3.8 million adults), those who involuntarily lost their jobs at 5.9% (est. 2.7 million adults), and first-time job seekers, at 1.5% (est. 691,000 adults).


SWS’s adult joblessness data refers to adults in the labor force. Those with a job at present, plus those without a job at present and looking for a job, are part of the labor force.

The December 2017 survey found the adult labor force participation rate at 72.1%, or an estimated 45.5 million adults. This is a 1-point decrease from the 73.1% (est. 46.1 million adults) labor force participation rate in September 2017.

The December 2017 survey also asked, “Sa darating na 12 buwan mula ngayon, sa palagay ba ninyo ay DADAMI, HINDI MAGBABAGO, o MABABAWASAN ang trabaho na maaaring pasukan?” [“Twelve months from now, do you think there will be MORE JOBS, NO CHANGE in available jobs, or FEWER JOBS?”].

Optimism that there will be more jobs increased by 8 points from 45% in September 2017 to 53% in December 2017, and pessimism that there will be fewer jobs declined by 6 points from 18% in September to 12% in December. The proportion of those who say there will be no change in job availability fell by 3 points from 27% in September to 24% in December.

This upgrades the Net Optimism on Job Availability score (% more jobs minus % fewer jobs) by 13 points from a high +28 in September 2017 to a new record-high excellent +41 in December 2017, surpassing the previous record of high +37 in December 2016.

Profile of the jobless
Adult joblessness consists of (a) those who voluntarily left their old jobs, (b) those who lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control, termed as the retrenched, and (c) those seeking jobs for the first time.

The proportion of those who resigned or left their old jobs voluntarily fell by 2.1 points, from 10.4% in September 2017 to 8.3% in December 2017.

Those who were retrenched declined by 0.7 points, from 6.6% in September to 5.9% in December.

The 5.9% who were retrenched consisted of 4% whose previous contracts were not renewed, 0.8% who were laid off, and 1.1% whose employers closed operations.

The proportion of first-time job seekers decreased by 0.4 points, from 1.9% in September to 1.5% in December.

Survey Background
The December 2017 Social Weather Survey was conducted from December 8-16, 2017 using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±3% for national percentages, and ±6% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao). The area estimates were weighted by Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2017 to obtain the national estimates.

The quarterly Social Weather Surveys on joblessness are not commissioned, but are done on SWS’s own initiative and released as a public service.