The Philippines recorded its lowest unemployment rate since April 2020 at 6.9 percent in July this year.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported yesterday that July 2021’s unemployment rate declined from 7.7 percent in June 2021.
In a joint statement of Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and Budget and Management officer-in-charge Tina Rose Marie Canda, the rate of jobless individuals in Metro Manila dropped significantly from 14.4 percent in April 2021 to 9 percent in July this year.
Unemployment rate outside the National Capital Region also decreased from 7.9 percent to 6.5 percent in the same period.
“The unemployment rate fell to its lowest since the start of the pandemic due to more relaxed quarantines, but risk aversion and precautionary behavior led to a decrease in the labor force participation rate,” the economic managers said.
They attributed lower unemployment rate in July to the easing of community quarantine restrictions from modified enhanced community quarantine to variations of general community quarantine.
However, labor force participation fell to 59.8 percent in July from 65 percent in June.
The administration’s economic managers said 3.4 million jobs were shed from the labor market between June and July.
Total employment went down by 800,000 from pre-pandemic level, they added.
“Majority of those who left the labor force cited concerns around Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) as the reason for not working at this time,” the economic managers said.
They added 1.8 million job losses within a month came from the agriculture sector, as Typhoon Fabian hit the country in mid-July, destroying some PHP700 million worth of output from Northern Luzon to Western Visayas.
Underemployment also increased to 20.9 percent in July, the highest underemployment rate since April 2020. It increased from 14.2 percent in June.
Areas outside NCR posted an increase in underemployment rate at 21.8 percent, offsetting the decline in Metro Manila which slowed down by 14.8 percent in July.
“We will continue to strengthen our healthcare capacity, accelerate the vaccination program, and impose more targeted granular lockdowns to enable more people to safely join the labor force and earn a living,” the economic managers added.
With the imposition of granular lockdowns in Metro Manila, the economic managers hope that it will better target high risk areas to curb the spread of Covid-19 while bringing back jobs due to blanket restrictions.*PNA