Jobless Filipinos hit 2.9-M in June

The number of unemployed Filipinos inched up in June as job seekers joining the labor force increased, but the unemployment rate was steady at 6 percent, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed on Monday, Aug. 8.

Based on the June 2022 round of PSA’s Labor Force Survey, there were 2.99 million jobless individuals in June, about 62,000 higher than the 2.93 million in May. This, however, 781,000 lower than the 3.77 million recorded in the same month of 2021.

According to the PSA, an estimated 570,000 individuals aged 15 and above were added to the labor force in June, which raised the country’s labor force participation rate to 64.8 percent from 64.0 percent.

There were 49.58 million Filipinos with and without jobs in the labor force in June.

But despite the slight increase in numerical terms, the unemployment rate was steady at 6.0 percent in June from May. This, however, was a significant decline from the 7.7 percent in the same period last year.

Over 1.5 million Filipinos joined the labor force in June 2022 from the same month in 2021, bringing total employment to 46.6 million, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

Employment also grew across all sectors, particularly in the industry, agriculture, and services sectors amidst the easing of restrictions.

“In the near term, we will prioritize the immediate issues of rising inflation, the vulnerability of certain groups to shocks, and the pandemic-induced scarring to ensure that growth and employment gains are sustained,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.

He added that the reopening of the economy, including the resumption of face-to-face schooling, will boost domestic activities and insulate the economy against external headwinds.

In June, underemployment rate—the proportion of those already employed but still wanting more work—dropped further to 12.6 percent from 14.2 percent in June 2021.

“The latest data showed a significant increase in the number of workers employed on a full-time basis,” Balisacan said.

“While this is a good indication of the improving quality of work in our country, the government should incessantly boost its efforts towards providing an environment conducive to the creation of more and better employment opportunities,” he added.

In terms of hours of work, full-time employment, or those who worked for more than 40 hours a week, increased substantially by 11 percent or an additional three million individuals, while part-time workers declined by eight percent or 1.4 million fewer individuals compared to June 2021.

Correspondingly, the mean hours of work improved from 39 in June 2021 to 40.3 in June 2022.

The NEDA Secretary further said that the immediate and safe resumption of face-to-face classes is anticipated not only to increase domestic activities but also to prevent future productivity losses.

“As we continue to fully reopen the economy, we must remain vigilant and adhere to minimum health standards to ensure that Filipinos remain healthy and productive. We will also strengthen our health system to ensure that it is able to effectively and quickly respond to health situations as and where needed,” Balisacan said.

“Adjusting to the ‘new normal’ and gradually shifting to an endemic mindset is critical in generating more employment and strengthening our domestic economy,” he added.