^
4.2 million Pinoys jobless
Employment in the country has yet to fully improve, evident in the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which showed that the unemployment rate rose to 8.8 percent in February, accounting for 4.2 million unemployed Filipinos in the labor force. This means that 88 out of 1,000 individuals are jobless.
STAR/File

4.2 million Pinoys jobless

Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - March 31, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — More Filipinos were looking for additional hours of work in February, while those totally jobless also increased even at a time when the economy had already reopened.

Employment in the country has yet to fully improve, evident in the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), which showed that the unemployment rate rose to 8.8 percent in February, accounting for 4.2 million unemployed Filipinos in the labor force. This means that 88 out of 1,000 individuals are jobless.

This is an increase from the 8.7 percent in January, which is equivalent to some four million Filipinos who have no jobs and reflects a relatively slower pace of economic recovery in the country.

More than the unemployment, however, is the underemployment rate or the proportion of workers who were looking for more hours of work.

Underemployment went up to 18.2 percent or 7.9 million Filipinos, from 16 percent or 6.6 million Filipinos in January.

In a joint statement, the country’s economic managers said this indicates that income is limited due to quarantine restrictions.

The latest labor force data came at a time when the economy has been opened and more sectors were allowed to operate. It was also an indication that the reopening failed to fully translate to increased job creation.

Further, the February unemployment rate is the third highest recorded since 2005. The first two were recorded in April and July 2020 at 17.6 percent and 10 percent, respectively, both at the height of the pandemic.

PSA said the country’s labor force participation rate, or those Filipinos aged 15 years and above, improved to 63.5 percent of the total working age population from 60.5 percent.

This is equivalent to around 47.3 million economically active Filipinos, whether employed or looking for work.

National statistician Dennis Mapa said the labor force participation rate has increased since October last year, as more participated following the opening up of the economy.

However, this also means that while more people searched for employment as quarantine restrictions were eased, the number of jobs generated failed to match the supply. Overall, 1.9 million jobs were restored during the period.

This brings the total employment rate to 91.2 percent, translating to 43.2 million employed Filipinos.

The sectors that showed the most improvement in job creation include services at 1.6 million – of which one million are from wholesale and retail trade, agriculture at 259,000 and industry at 46,000.

Declines, on the other hand, were recorded in accommodation and food services, administrative and support services, and construction.

But as Metro Manila and nearby provinces were placed under the strictest community quarantine again, Mapa said its impact will be captured in the April round of the LFS.

“If we based on our previous ECQs, labor force participation is really low and unemployment rate will increase, that’s the effect of the lockdown,” Mapa said.

The economic managers maintained that the decision was arrived at after a careful analysis of the cost and benefit of the week-long ECQ.

“We will continue to monitor closely and assess the health and economic data as they come, in order for us to deliver timely interventions and provide better opportunities for the people, especially the poor, amid this prolonged health crisis,” they said.

Workers are grouped into three sectors – agriculture, industry and services. Those in the services sector comprised most of the employed persons, accounting for 58.4 percent share during the period.

The services sector was followed by agriculture with a 23.9 percent share, while the industry sector accounted for the smallest share of 17.7 percent.

‘Better employment’

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) sees a better employment situation in the coming months following the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

“We still expect a better and more improved employment performance in the coming months with the rollout of the vaccination program,” DOLE said in reaction to the latest LFS.

“We call upon all workers and businesses to continue the strict implementation of the minimum public health standards and occupational safety and health policies.”

DOLE attributed the increase in the number of underemployed nationwide to the continuing quarantine restrictions.

But DOLE said the same survey also showed “encouraging” growth of 2.140 million in the country’s labor force, and 1.905 million workers who had regained employment from the gradual and safe reopening of the economy.

DOLE noted that majority of the sectors have shown significant improvement in terms of employment generation. – Mayen Jaymalin

JOBLESS
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

FORGOT PASSWORD?
SIGN IN
or sign in with