SWS: 7.2 million Filipinos jobless in 2017, lowest since 2004

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 24) — A new survey said the country recorded the lowest number of jobless Filipinos last year.

In its fourth quarter survey, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said 15.7 percent or 7.2 million adults were jobless in December 2017, the lowest rate in 13 years.

The unemployed Filipinos include those who voluntarily left their old jobs, those who lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control, and first-time job seekers.

The December 2017 joblessness rate was lower compared to September 2017, which showed 18.9 percent or 8.7 million adults were jobless, and the lowest since March 2004 where around 9.8 percent of adults were jobless.

The Palace, in a statement, said it is happy with the survey results.

"The Duterte administration is indeed on the right track in making sustainable and inclusive growth as part of our development plan. Department of Budget and Management data showed infrastructure disbursements jumping 44.8 percent year-on-year to P43.8 billion last November," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

The SWS conducted the survey among 1,200 Filipinos aged 18 and above - 300 each from Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

Optimism high

People are also more optimistic about getting a job.

Of the respondents, 53 percent said they believe more jobs will be available in the next 12 months, 24 percent said there will be no change, and 12 percent said there will be fewer jobs.

This put the net optimism at +41 or "excellent," the highest since 1998 or during the Estrada administration.

The net optimism is obtained by subtracting the number of those who believe there will be fewer jobs (12 percent) from those who said there will be more jobs available (53 percent).

The Palace said more jobs will be generated through the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Act, which is expected to increase infrastructure investments.

“Our Build-Build-Build Infrastructure Program is projected to create more than a million jobs a year,” the Palace said.