Metro Manila, Philippines— The number of Filipinos with no work went up in September due to lack of available jobs and elevated inflation, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed Wednesday.

In a briefing, National Statistician Dennis Mapa reported that those without jobs reached 2.26 million, up from August’s 2.21 million.

This translates to a national unemployment rate of 4.5%

The labor force participation during the period also dropped to 49.93 million from August’s 50.29 million, which the official contributed to schooling and the limited availability of jobs in the market.

Mapa said this was reflected in unemployment data.

“They are looking for work pero there’s no available. Bad weather contributed, but not that large. They’re waiting for rehire or job recall,” he said.

Asked if the higher inflation rate recorded in September affected the jobless rate, Mapa said it had an impact on some industries, including wholesale and retail trade, which tallied a 722,000-drop in employment year-on-year.

Some of the subsectors cited were non-specialized stores selling food and beverages, and retail sales of food in specialized stores.

“These are the subsectors affected most probably by the increasing prices,” he said.

Other sectors that saw the biggest annual decline in employment include manufacturing, agriculture and forestry, public administration and defense, and financial and insurance activities.

Meanwhile, employed persons in September reached 47.67 million, down from a month ago.

Underemployed individuals, or those with work but are still seeking additional income, fell to 5.11 million.

“Underemployment rate is lower. These are good signs in terms of quality of jobs,” Mapa said.

Mapa also said that the Philippines may see a more robust labor market as businesses hire more staff in the fourth quarter.

“Kapag last quarter, nagtataas ang number of workers, lalo na short-term, seasonal, and contractual,” he added.

[Translation: The number of workers, especially short-term, seasonal, and contractual, increases during the last quarter.]