MANILA, Philippines—The country’s agriculture and forestry industry continues to suffer as it had the largest employment drop in the third quarter of 2022, according to the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

Based on preliminary results of the October 2022 Labor Force Survey (LFS) presented last December 7, the agriculture and forestry industry lost 511,000 workers, from 9.73 million in July to 9.22 million in October.

According to National Statistician Dennis Mapa, the huge drop in agricultural jobs was in “planting, transplanting and other related activities, growing of paddy rice, and growing of banana.”

Mapa added that the decline was due to “seasonality” since there was a reduction in planting activities during the period.

Year-on-year comparison by the PSA showed that the industry also had the largest drop in employment, from 9.42 million in October 2022, it has lost 197,000 workers.

The agriculture sector—agriculture, forestry, fishing, and aquaculture industries—had its share to total employment fall from 24.5 percent (9.7 million) in October 2020 and 24.6 percent (10.77 million) in October 2021 to 22.5 percent (10.60 million) during the same month this year.

In terms of skilled agricultural, forestry and fishery workers in the country, the numbers continue to dip from 14.2 percent (5.7 million) in October 2020 and 12.4 percent (5.4 million) in October 2021 to 11.8 percent (5.6 million) during the same month this year.

In a paper published last year, Roehlano Briones, a senior fellow at the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), the number of workers in agriculture “has been declining both in relative and absolute terms up to 2019.”

Briones explained that population growth, as well as diminishing farm size and declining incomes in agriculture, have incentivized the “shift out of agriculture.”

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