Unemployment declines in 2021 but remains below pre-pandemic levels

Ramon Royandoyan – Philstar.com

February 10, 2022 | 11:30 a.m.

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s unemployment situation fared better in 2021 compared to the peak of the pandemic in 2020, with the economic outlook improving then, but it still lagged behind the numbers in the pre-pandemic job.

In an online briefing on Thursday, the Philippine Statistics Authority said the preliminary unemployment rate in 2021 fell to 7.8%, equivalent to 3.7 million Filipinos who were either unemployed or bankrupt. Last year. In 2020, when dozens of businesses and businesses downsized as a result of the pandemic fight, unemployment was at an all-time high of 10.4%.

The unemployment rate in 2019 was 5.1%.

The underemployment rate, or the proportion of those seeking more work to supplement their income, declined in 2021 to 7 million Filipinos for the full year, a rate of 15.9%. This rate was slightly lower than the rate of 16.4%, or 6.4 million underemployed people, recorded in 2020.

On a monthly basis, the Labor Force Survey for December last year saw the participation of 910,000 Filipinos aged 15 and above, giving a rate 65.1% higher than November in due to the seasonality of jobs and the easing of restrictions at the time. .

The PSA reported that unemployment in the last month of 2021 rose by 6.6% to 3.27 million Filipinos from a rate of 6.5% recorded in November. National Statistician Clare Dennis Mapa said this was because many members of the public joined the workforce during the survey period but were unable to find employment.

“Not everyone participates [in the survey] are about to be hired, there are still a number who are not employed,” Mapa said.

Underemployment in December fell 14.7% from the 16.7% rate recorded the previous month. It was the fifth weakest impression of underemployment in the past year, with Mapa explaining that more Filipinos are participating in the labor market when restrictions ease.

The employment rate for the same month, the highest since January 2021, stood at 93.4%, or about 46.27 million Filipinos who had found work by then.

For Nicholas Antonio Mapa, senior economist at ING Bank in Manila, this signaled that the national government’s response to the pandemic and economic reopening were finally bearing fruit.

“The slight increase in unemployment figures was largely due to the improvement in the participation rate, even as around 797,000 more workers found jobs compared to the previous month. The net increase in jobs created reminds us the positive impact of the containment and reopening of the virus,” Mapa said in an emailed comment.

The PSA noted a silver lining for employment in December as dozens of Filipinos between the ages of 25 and 34 found gainful employment as the increase was “significant”.

The disaggregated data showed that the agriculture and forestry sector added 1.07 million jobs while the manufacturing sector added 325,000 jobs in December. However, job losses were observed in the fishing and aquaculture sector, which shed 393,000 jobs and other service activities, 289,000, during the same period.

Asked for comment, Jun Neri, senior economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands, said the impact of Super Typhoon “Odette” on the labor market will be felt in the January data release, as confirmed by the PSA in its briefing.

“We will likely see a spike in unemployment in January, but we can all look past it now that we know we are back to Alert Level 2 and are getting closer to fully vaccinating to 70% of the target population. by the second quarter of 2022.” Neri said in a Viber message.

The National Economic and Development Authority said in a statement that the jobs crisis would be temporary in January, following the return to tighter restrictions following the push for the Omicron variant. Leonardo Lazona, labor economist at Ateneo De Manila University, agrees.

“The jobs affected by Odette are agricultural in nature and can be easily restored once the storm has passed. Rising unemployment indicates that much of the recovery is due to investment, particularly by the government in the construction sector” , said Lanzona. said in a text message.

But Lazona predicts that some jobs lost due to the pandemic, perhaps as some businesses shut down their operations or adjusted their business models, could prove permanent, which could inevitably leave more Filipinos struggling for a source of income. .

“The jobs that have been lost due to covid are no longer viable. The government should have a comprehensive industrialization program that will employ the current surplus labor force. Without this, there seems very little prospect of recovery jobs,” added Lanzona.

Comments are closed.