Jobless Filipinos drop in July to 2.6 M

The number of jobless Filipinos in July eased to its lowest since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the quality of jobs in the country deteriorated as underemployment climbed during the month.

Based on the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) preliminary labor force survey results, there were an estimated 2.6 million jobless individuals in July, fewer compared with the 2.99 million unemployed Filipinos recorded in the previous month.

The July jobs figure was also lower compared with 3.23 million in the same month last year.

Unemployment rate settled at 5.2 percent, down from 6.0 percent in June and 7.2 percent in 2021.

According to the PSA, the July unemployment rate was the lowest since the 4.5 percent registered in October 2019.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said he expects more jobs and income opportunities available for Filipinos in the coming months as the government moves toward the full reopening of the economy.

“These opportunities will help temper the impact of global inflationary pressures on the purchasing power of Filipinos,” Balisacan said in a statement on Thursday, Sep. 8.

While declining unemployment is favorable, underemployment in the labor market raised a red flag.

In July, underemployed Filipinos, or those people who are already employed but still wanting more work, rose to 6.54 million from 5.89 million a month ago. However, this number fell from 8.77 million in the same month last year.

This translates to an underemployment rate of 13.8 percent, up from 12.6 percent in June, but decreased from 21 percent in July last year.

The labor force participation rate increased to 65.2 percent, with over 5.1 million individuals joining the labor force in July 2022.

Meanwhile, the total number of employed individuals rose to 47.4 million, bringing the employment rate to 94.8 percent—the highest recorded since the start of the pandemic.

Balisacan said the continuous reopening of schools is a pivotal step for all economic players.

“The latest data show that as more youth have opted to return to face-to-face classes, women were also relieved from additional care work at home, allowing for more possibilities for them to be economically active,” Balisacan said.

The majority of the increase in employment came from the services sector, particularly in wholesale & retail trade. This is followed by the agriculture and industry sectors.

"We need to intensify the vaccination program by increasing the country’s booster rate to sustain low alert levels and reinvigorate domestic economic activity,” Balisacan added.