3.76M Filipinos without jobs in June, slightly up from May

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 3) — Amid strict quarantine restrictions against COVID-19, slightly fewer Filipinos were able to find work in June, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Tuesday.

National Statistician Dennis Mapa said the national unemployment rate among residents aged 15 and above stood at 7.7% during the month, similar to May. This is equivalent to 3.76 million jobless Filipinos, higher than the 3.73 million tally in the previous month.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal — collectively known as National Capital Region Plus — eased to general community quarantine (GCQ) “with heightened restrictions” during the first half of June.

NCR and Bulacan then shifted to the more relaxed GCQ “with restrictions” for the rest of the month, while Rizal, Laguna and Cavite remained under the prior classification.

Meanwhile, other areas were placed under different quarantine levels ranging from modified enhanced community quarantine, GCQ, and MECQ.

The number of underemployed Filipinos, or those looking for more work hours or better job opportunities, climbed to 6.41 million — up from the record low 5.49 million logged in May. This represents a 14.2% underemployment rate, higher than the previous month’s 12.3%.

The country’s labor force stood at 48.84 million in June, slightly up from the 48.45 million tallied the previous month. Some 45.08 million Filipinos were employed during the period, a mild improvement from 44.72 million in May.

In terms of sector share to total employment, agriculture and services saw higher figures in June while industries reported a slightly smaller tally.

Administrative and support service activities led the industries with the largest month-on-month jump in employment. Wholesale and retail trade of motor vehicles, fishing and aquaculture, education, and agriculture and forestry also logged more workers in June.

Meanwhile, other service activities saw the largest drop in jobs during the month. Accommodation and food services, public administration and defense, transportation and storage, along with financial and insurance activities saw employment fall during the period.

The average number of hours worked in a week remained at 39 hours, noted the PSA. It reported that 37.8% of employed persons worked less than 40 hours weekly, higher than May’s figure. Less workers also logged at least 40 hours in a week at 61.1%.

The PSA estimated 1.2% of Filipinos had jobs but weren’t at work. The top reasons for these are health or medical limitations, variable working time or nature of work, and lockdowns.

Mapa said the number of jobless adults is expected to go up this August given the return of lockdowns in the capital region, similar to what happened during the declaration of tighter quarantine rules in 2020 and this year.

“Although the ECQ imposition may temporarily impact employment outcomes in August 2021, the government is determined to maximize this period to accelerate vaccination in high-risk areas in order to safely resume economic activities and restore jobs,” the economic team said in a statement.

Economic managers also called for the stricter observation of health protocols and cooperation with the government’s PDITR strategy. They also encouraged firms to “continue innovating” to ensure business continuity and people’s incomes.

“These efforts will also be complemented by the National Employment Recovery Strategy to generate and preserve jobs while supporting existing and emerging businesses,” the officials added.