The country’s jobless rate in July slipped to its lowest level during the pandemic as the economy continued reopening, but the number of people looking for additional work increased, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The PSA’s Labor Force Survey showed the country’s unemployment rate at 5.2 percent in July, down from June’s six percent and 7.2 percent in July 2021.
“The July numbers are promising… The July unemployment rate of 5.2 [percent] is the lowest since the 4.5 percent in October 2019 pre-pandemic,” national statistician Dennis Mapa said, adding that the reopening of the economy is the biggest reason for the return of employment.
PSA data also showed that the number of underemployed, or those looking for additional hours of work or an additional job, was estimated at 6.54 million in July, up from 5.89 million in June and lower than 8.77 million in July last year.
There were 49.99 million people in the labor force in July this year.
The top five subsectors which saw the largest increases in employment year-on-year were the wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles, agriculture and forestry, accommodation and food service activities, other service activities, public administration and defense, and compulsory social security.
The biggest decline in jobs year-on-year in July were: professional, scientific and technical activities, information and communication, manufacturing, water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities, and mining and quarrying.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said government expects more jobs and income opportunities to be available for Filipinos in the coming months as the economy and schools fully reopen.
Unemployment and underemployment are critical indicators of a country’s economic health and certainly needs constant monitoring as we try to recover from the devastation of the pandemic. It will not solve itself but it will require government officials concerned to continuously make the necessary adjustments that will allow more businesses to hire and keep employees and earn income that can keep our domestic economy going and growing.*