Unemployed Filipinos decrease to 3.07 million in July
The number of jobless Filipinos eased in July with more individuals choosing not to participate in the labor force due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a report by GMA News.
The number of unemployed Filipinos stood at 3.07 million in July to reflect an unemployment rate of 6.9%. This compares with the 3.73 million jobless in June, when the unemployment rate was at 7.7%.
Six regions posted an increase in unemployment rates, led by the National Capital Region with 9.0%.
This was followed by Central Visayas with 8.8%, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) with 8.2%, the Bicol Region with 7.9%, Calabarzon with 7.7%, and Mimaropa with 7.1%.
This comes as the labor force participation rate (LPFR) fell to its lowest level so far this year at 59.8%, attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, and difficulties in searching for employment opportunities.
The employment rate climbed to 93.1%, the highest rate since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. This is equivalent to 41.7 million Filipinos or 3.4 million lower than in June.
Job gains were recorded in administrative and support service activities; construction; education; arts, entertainment and recreation; and professional, scientific, and technical activities.
Declines were seen in agriculture and forestry; wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles; and mining and quarrying.
Underemployment for the month climbed to 8.7 million to reflect an underemployment rate of 20.9%, also a pandemic-high.
Visibly underemployed individuals — working less than 40 hours a week but want additional hours in their present job or to have an additional job — were estimated at 4.5 million or 10.8% of the total employed individuals.
Indivisibly underemployed — those working at least 40 hours but still want additional hours — were estimated at 4.2 million or 10.0% of the employed Filipinos.
Metro Manila was placed under the general community quarantine (GCQ) “with some restrictions” from July 1 to 15, followed by the GCQ “with heightened restrictions” from July 23 to 31, and the GCQ “subject to heightened and additional restrictions from July 31 to August 5.
The PSA earlier noted, however, that jobless Filipinos could have increased in August given the reimposition of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Metro Manila for most of the month.
Under ECQ, the strictest quarantine classification, only essential businesses are allowed to operate. Dine-in and al fresco services in restaurants are also not allowed.
For their part, economic managers cited the need to manage the risks and for the country to learn to live with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We reiterate our call for everyone to remain on guard at all times, and to strictly adhere to minimum public health standards,” officials said in a joint statement.
“We also encourage both the private sector and the government to innovate and ensure continued business operations and public service delivery. These will allow our workers to continue earning a living and provide for their families’ needs safely,” they added.
The statement was by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and Budget and Management Officer-in-Charge Tina Rose Marie Canda.
“With the recent spike of infections due to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, the government will continue to adjust its risk management strategy and intensify its health response to save lives and protect the well-being of all Filipinos,” they said.
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