ECQ may jolt ‘steady’ jobless rate—economic team

Published August 3, 2021, 1:33 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Unemployment rate was steady in June this year, but President Duterte’s economic managers expect the number of jobless Filipinos may “temporarily” take a blow this month following the imposition of the strictest form of lockdown.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Tuesday, August 3, that unemployment rate remained at 7.7 percent last June, similar to May’s level.


While jobless rate was unchanged, the number of unemployed Filipinos aged 15-years-old and above slightly inched up to 3.76 million from 3.73 million a month earlier.

According to the PSA, the increase in the magnitude of unemployment was due to higher labor force participation rate (LFPR) seen at 65.0 percent, equivalent to about 48.84 million people.

National Statistician Dennis S. Mapa said that more people have entered the labor force amid the pandemic, noting that June’s LFPR increased from 64.6 percent in May, 63.2 percent in April, 63.5 percent in February and 60.5 percent last January.

Meanwhile, underemployment rose to 14.2 percent from 12.3 percent in May, translating to 6.41 million Filipinos who were seeking more work.

As the local labor market stalled, the government’s economic team said the absence of any major easing in quarantine restrictions, especially in Metro Manila, had limited job creation.

Since January last year, the country’s net job creation totalled 2.5 million.

Looking ahead, the economic team sees a temporary setback in employment owing to the emergence of the highly transmissible Delta variant.

President Duterte earlier approved a recommendation placing Metro Manila under a two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) after undergoing general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened and additional restrictions from July 30 to August 5.

The economic managers explained that the government needed to prioritize measures to arrest the spread of the more contagious variant as “these actions are crucial in ensuring that economic gains in recent months” are protected.

“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 team said.

As of August 1, a total of 20.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered, consisting of 11.7 million and 9.1 million for the first and second doses, respectively.

“With this rapid progress in the rate of inoculation and the expected arrival of 132.7 million doses in the next six months, we are confident that we can vaccinate 70 million Filipinos or the entire adult population by the end of 2021,” the economic managers said.

In July, the government achieved its fastest vaccination drive so far, administering around 10 million doses.

Towards the end of July, the country reported its highest number of jabs in one day at 659,029. The average daily doses administered in the last seven days reached 523,018.