In 2021, Eastern Visayas registered a Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) of 63.2 percent. This was 5.0 percentage points higher than the 58.2 percent LFPR reported in 2020, and the highest in the past four (4) years since 2018. The 63.2 percent LFPR corresponds to around 2.02 million total population 15 years old and over who were either employed or unemployed during the period in review (Table 1).
Of the six (6) provinces in the region, Samar registered the highest LFPR at 70.6 percent, corresponding to 381 thousand labor force during the year in review. This was followed by Biliran, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar with 68.2 percent, 66.5 percent and 65.1 percent, respectively. Leyte posted the lowest LFPR at 58.7 percent. Tacloban City, the lone Highly Urbanized City (HUC) in the region, had 58.9 percent LFPR in 2021.
There were about 1.88 million employed persons out of the estimated 2.02 million labor force in 2021. This placed the region’s employment rate at 93.4 percent, higher by 1.4 percentage points than the 92.0 percent employment rate in 2020. However, this was lower by 2.4 percentage points and 2.2 percentage points compared with the 95.8 percent and 95.6 percent employment rates in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
Meanwhile, among provinces in the region, Samar posted the highest employment rate in Eastern Visayas at 96.1 percent. Eastern Samar was next with 95.0 percent employment rate, followed by Biliran at 92.9 percent employment rate. The lowest employment rate was reported in Northern Samar at 91.5 percent, tailed by Leyte and Southern Leyte at 92.4 percent and 92.5 percent, respectively. Tacloban City recorded 93.5 percent employment rate during the year in review.
Eastern Visayas posted a 6.6 percent unemployment rate in 2021. This means that there were around 134 thousand persons unemployed out of the 2.02 million persons in the labor force in 2021. This showed an improvement from the 8.0 percent unemployment rate in 2020. This rate, however, was still higher compared with the unemployment rates in 2018 and 2019 at 4.2 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively.
Among the provinces in Region 8, Northern Samar reported the highest unemployment rate at 8.5 percent, followed by Leyte, Southern Leyte and Biliran at 7.6 percent, 7.5 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. The rest of the provinces posted lower unemployment than the 6.6 percent unemployment rate in Region 8 with Samar recording the lowest unemployment rate at 3.9 percent, followed by Eastern Samar at 5.0 percent. Meanwhile, Tacloban City posted 6.5 percent unemployment rate in 2021.
Underemployed population is the proportion of employed population who expresses the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, or an additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours. The underemployment rate in Eastern Visayas in the past four years has been double-digit, fluctuating slightly from 21.4 percent in 2018 to 20.9 percent in 2021.
The region’s 20.9 percent underemployment rate in 2021 translates to about 394 thousand underemployed persons out of the estimated 1.88 million employed population recorded during the said year. All provinces reported double-digit underemployment rates except Eastern Samar where underemployment rate was 9.1 percent. Northern Samar posted the highest at 29.7 percent, Southern Leyte ranked second at 27.2 percent, Biliran at 25.0 percent, Leyte at 24.9 percent, then Samar at 10. 6 percent. Tacloban City had 18.1 percent underemployment rate.