PH unemployment rate inches up to 6% in May

Published July 7, 2022, 8:58 AM

by Chino S. Leyco

The number of unemployed Filipinos climbed in May as there were not enough jobs for the growing working-age population entering the labor market, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed on Thursday, July 7.

Based on the PSA’s May 2022 Labor Force Survey, the country’s unemployment rate inched up to 6.0 percent from the pandemic low of 5.7 percent posted in April. However, the jobless level is an improvement compared with the 7.7 percent in May 2021.

The jobless rate in May translated to an estimated 2.93 million jobless individuals aged 15-years-old and above. This rose from 2.76 million in the previous month, but a decline compared with the P3.74 million in the same month last year.

According to the PSA, the rise in unemployment rate was recorded after the country’s labor force participation rate rose from 63.4 percent in April to 64.0 percent in May. Year-on-year, it marginally dropped from 64.6 percent.

The PSA estimated that there were 49.01 million working age Filipinos who were in the labor force in May, up from 48.39 million in April and 48.46 million in the same month last year.

Meanwhile, underemployment rate settled at 14.5 percent in May, higher than the 12.3 percent in the same month a year ago. This was equivalent of 1.2 million additional underemployed. Last April, this was estimated at 14 percent.

In a statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said they have seen significant employment gains in the services sector during the month as tourism and business outlook improved with the further easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

“Amidst external shocks, the government has sustained the economy’s growth momentum and steered it towards a higher growth path. Now, the immediate challenge is the full reopening of the economy,” Balisacan said.

“Over the medium term, the government will focus on creating more jobs, quality jobs, and green jobs through productivity-enhancing investments,” he added.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief, the productivity-enhancing investments will include strategies to increase employability such as improved quality of education, provision of opportunities for life-long learning, and in-demand skills development.

The productivity-enhancing strategies also include options to obtain micro-credentials, enhanced job facilitation programs and strengthened linkages between industry, business and training institutions for a more efficient labor market.

Meanwhile, Balisacan also commended the ease in metrics of the Department of Health (DOH) in determining the alert level system as critical in the economy’s reopening.

The NEDA chief likewise welcomed the move to immediately and safely resume face-to-face classes to increase domestic activities and prevent future productivity loss.

He added that a catch-up plan is needed to regain the two years of learning lost during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“A learning catch-up plan is crucial. This will help secure better opportunities for future generations and ensure that our demographic dividend will not be wasted,” said Balisacan.