MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent in May, although the number of unemployed Filipinos remained high (3.73 million) after areas that make up half of the economy returned to a less stringent quarantine, the government reported Thursday (July 1). ).
With the massive nationwide inoculation against SARS Cov2, the virus that causes COVID-19, now applied to essential workers, or group A4 according to government jargon, Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, He said he was optimistic that unemployment would continue to decline in June.
“Since vaccination is moving faster and the quarantine level is lower, more improvements [in jobs was] probably, ”Chua, the country’s chief economist who heads the National Development and Economic Authority of the state planning agency (Neda), told The Inquirer.
According to a joint statement issued by President Rodrigo Duterte – Chua’s economic team, Finance Secretary Carlos Domínguez III and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado – 829,662 workers have already received their first dose of vaccines as of June 27, compared to just 11,430 last May.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Labor Force Survey (EPA) conducted in May showed a lower unemployment rate compared to 8.7 percent in April, when 4.14 million Filipinos were out of work. In part because National Capital Region (NCR) Plus returned to the tightest lockdown level before March ended to contain an increase in COVID-19 cases.
In mid-May, NCR Plus, Metro Manila, and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, which were home to many manufacturing and export zones, were placed under the Lesser General Community Quarantine (GCQ).
National statistician Dennis Mapa told a news conference that easing restrictions on NCR Plus contributed to the reduction in the national unemployment rate.
While the May LFS round did not break down regional data, Mapa said employment improved in Metro Manila, as well as in Central Luzon and Calabarzon, the regions to which the NCR Plus areas belonged.
A less stringent quarantine also increased the workforce population – those 15 and older who were employed or unemployed – to 48.45 million in May from 47.41 million in April, Mapa said.
The labor force participation rate last May also rose to 64.6 percent from 63.2 percent in April as more people looked for work.
Mapa said the sectors that added the most jobs in May were wholesale and retail trade, and motor vehicle and motorcycle repair; Agriculture and Forests; public administration and defense and compulsory social security; building; as well as other service activities.
The number of Filipinos with employment in May – 44.72 million – increased from 43.27 million in April, although still down from 45.33 million in March.
The May LFS also showed that underemployment – those with jobs that wanted higher pay or more hours of work – slipped to a record low of 12.3 percent, a rate even better than pre-pandemic levels. The underemployment rate last May was equivalent to 5.49 million workers, compared to more than 7 million in previous months.
Mapa said the PSA’s May survey showed a “substantial” number of Filipinos working full-time in various sectors and types of jobs.
A separate report released by Neda last Wednesday (June 30) on previous EPA data for April showed that the Philippines’ unemployment rate was better only than India, which is being ravaged by COVID-19, across economies. emerging from Asia.
India’s unemployment rate jumped to 9.9 percent from April to May, compared with 6.6 percent from January to March.
Nonetheless, most of the Philippines’ neighbors had better unemployment rates, according to the most recent data: 3.9 percent from China in March; Indonesia, 6.3 percent as of February; Malaysia, 4.7 percent last March; Thailand, 1.9 percent from October to December 2020; and Vietnam, 2.4 percent as of March, the Neda report showed.
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