45.5% of adult Filipinos jobless; Roque says it shows our resilience

Joblessness among adult Filipinos has reached a record high at 45.5 percent, half of which lost their jobs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.


Malacañang is “saddened” by the survey results, but is still pleased the latest figure did not reach 100 percent during the coronavirus pandemic.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque lauded the resilience of the nation, saying the country’s unemployment rate “could have been worse” given the impact of the strict coronavirus lockdown on economic activities

In the survey conducted from July 3 to 6 among 1,555 respondents, unemployment rose by 28 points from 17.5 percent in December 2019, and a new record-high since the 34.4 percent in March 2012.

SWS said that the estimated numbers of jobless adults were 27.3 million in July 2020 and 7.9 million in December 2019.

The July 2020 Survey found the adult Labor Force Participation Rate is at 86.4 percent for an estimated 60 million adults. This used to be 68.7 percent in December 2019 for an estimated 45.5 million adults.

Jobless were defined as those who voluntarily left their old jobs, are seeking jobs for the first time, or lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control.

The survey found that one out of five or 21 percent of adult Filipinos – or half of the 42 percent with no job/livelihood at the time of the interview – lost their job/livelihood during the COVID-19 crisis. The other 21 percent lost their job/livelihood before the crisis.

The rest either had a job/livelihood at the time of the interview at 47 percent or never had a job/livelihood before at 11 percent.

The proportion of those who lost their job/livelihood during the Covid-19 crisis is slightly higher in urban areas at 23 percent than in rural areas at 18 percent.

It is highest in Balance Luzon at 23 percent, followed by the Visayas at 19 percent, Mindanao at 19 percent, and Metro Manila 18 percent.

SWS attributed the 28-point surge in the national joblessness rate to increases of 31 points in the Visayas, 29 points in Metro Manila, 28 points in Balance Luzon, and 25 points in Mindanao.

Data were gathered through mobile phone interviews of adult Filipinos 18 years old and above, randomly drawn from a database of mobile phone numbers compiled from SWS national and subnational representative face-to-face surveys since 2017.

SWS maintains the sampling error margins of ±2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, and ±5% for Balance Luzon, ±5% Visayas, and ±5% in Mindanao.

Over 164,000 displaced workers from NCR

In the latest Job Displacement Monitoring Report of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released Monday, more than 164,000 workers in the private sector have been displaced this year.

Based on the report, 164,485 workers were displaced nationwide from 8,325 establishments from January up to the present.

Of the 8,325 establishments, 7,460 reduced workforce while 865 reported permanent closure.

The 865 firms that reported permanent closure displaced a total of 15,266 workers while the 7,460 companies that retrenched workers affected 149,219 employees.

The data also revealed that a total of 109,455 establishments implemented flexible work arrangement (FWA) and temporary closure (TC) from July 8 to August 16 affecting 3,080,493 workers.

The more than 28,000 establishments that implemented FWAs affected 1,206,114 workers while the 83,339 establishments that implemented TC
affected 2,004,769 workers.

The NCR registered the most number of displaced workers in the country with 80,199 followed by Calabarzon with 32,896, and Central Luzon with 17,813.

The number of displaced workers in other areas are: Central Visayas with 9,528; Cordillera Administrative Region with 5,411; Davao Region with 3,914; Northern Mindanao with 3,105; Western Visayas with 2,922; Ilocos Region with 2,606; Cagayan Valley with 1,256; Bicol Region with 1,151; Eastern Visayas with 1,128; Soccsksargen with 952; Caraga with 780; MIMAROPA with 699; and Zamboanga Peninsula with 125.

Most of the displaced workers were from administrative and support service with 38,311; followed by the other service activities with 21,007; and the manufacturing sector with 20,727.

The Job Displacement Report covers data as of July 17, 2020.


The government had earlier imposed strict quarantine restrictions to curb the disease outbreak but such lockdown has forced many businesses to close or scale down operations and displaced workers.

The economy suffered a heavy beating from the lockdown as it contracted by 16.5 percent during the second quarter of the year.

To help improve the country’s employment condition, Roque said the government is inclined to further open up the economy. (With a report from Leslie Ann G. Aquino)