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The country’s employment data likely improved in May this year due to the hiring of more agricultural workers amid better weather conditions, an economist said.

“Philippine employment data as of May 2024 could improve due to better weather conditions with the start of rains that enabled the hiring of more agricultural workers,” Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation chief economist Michael Ricafort said in a Viber message on Friday.

The country’s employment rate reached 96 percent as of April this year, higher than the 95.5 percent a year ago but slightly lower than the 96.1 percent recorded in March.

The unemployment rate, on the other hand, was at 4 percent, lower than last year’s 4.5 percent but higher than the 3.9 percent seen in March.

The Philippine Statistics Authority earlier reported that there was a significant decrease in the number of employed persons in the agriculture and forestry sector due to the effects of the El Niño phenomenon.

Ricafort said aside from the projected rise in agriculture workers, the increased travel during the summer season will also help boost employment data.

“Furthermore, seasonal increase in travels, vacations, holidays amid the summer season, alongside fiestas and other festivities around the country that further increased tourism activities also may have created more employment, business, and other economic activities,” he said.

For the coming months, Ricafort said preparations for the mid-term elections will also help create more employment.

“Preparations for the mid-term elections, including increased government spending on infrastructure and on various projects before the election ban would help create more jobs for the coming months,” he said.

However, Ricafort said that in the coming months, typhoons and the effect of La Niña, as well as the ghost month in August, could be a drag on employment data.

He said this may be positively offset by the seasonal increase in importation and production activities in the third quarter in preparation for the seasonal increase in demand for the Christmas season. (PNA)