By MARLON A LOTERTE
LEGAZPI CITY: Bicol region’s year-on-year inflation rate during the first nine months of this year has improved to 3.5 percent from 4.9 percent last year.
Data from the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Regional Division for Bicol revealed that inflation rate for the 3rd quarter was 0.1 percent lower than the national average.
The annual inflation rate in the region this year, however, continued its uptrend last September gaining 0.2 percent over August, making the current level the highest since November 2011.
The report said price increases for Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages commodity group, the biggest component of the region’s consumer basket, were enough to push this month’s inflation rate to its 10-month high.
Faster inflation rates were also recorded in the commodity groups: Transport, 0.4 percent; Restaurant and Miscellaneous Goods and Services, 0.3 percent and; Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco and Clothing and Footwear, 0.1 percent.
Slower price gains of 0.2 percent were seen in Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels; and 0.1 percent each in Furnishing, Household Equipment and Routine Maintenance of the House, Health and Recreation and Culture.
On a month-on-month basis, Bicol’s inflation rate shed 0.4 percent as eight of the commodity groups– Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and Other Fuels (1.4 percentage points) declined while the rest skidded by 0.1 to 0.3 percent.
However, Communication and Education sustained their previous month’s level while bread, cereals, rice and vegetables were among the food items included in the region’s commodity basket that had increments in inflation rates for the month, resulting to the current level of the food group, the report said.
The purchasing power of the peso in the region remained at 75 centavos in September 2012, from P1 in 2006.
Meanwhile, the region’s monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) grew 0.5 percent from last month’s index of 133.6, reflecting a continued rise in average prices of consumer goods.
Seven of the commodity groups posted increased indices, ranging from 0.7 percent from the Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages to 0.1 %.
The rest of the commodity groups sustained their previous month’s level, the NSCB Bicol division added.
In another report, it said results of the July 2012 Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the National Statistics Office (NSO) showed that unemployment rate in Bicol rose by 0.2 percent as compared to the same period the previous year, settling at 5.6 percent
Consequently, the LFS showed a drop in the region’s employment rate from 94.6 percent last year to 94.4 percent as of the survey period this year.
The NSCB said Bicol still has the highest underemployment rate among the regions in the country at 33.5 percent.
The underemployed are those who express the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or to have additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.
The region has an estimated 3.8 million population aged 15 years and over, 2.4 million of which are in the labor force, corresponding to a 63.1 percent labor force participation rate, down by 0.7 percent compared to the rate a year ago.
The labor force participation rate is the proportion of those in the labor force to the population aged 15 years old and over, it explained. -- PIA5