Unemployment up in January (msn.com)
The number of unemployed Filipinos went up by 200,000 in January, a survey made by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed.
In a briefing, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said that based on the results of the latest Labor Force Survey (LFS), four million joined the ranks of the unemployed, compared to 2.4 million in the same period last year.
There were 3.8 million jobless individuals in the survey conducted in October 2020. The latest number of out-of-work individuals translates to an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, the same figure reported in October 2020. The unemployment rate in January 2020 was 5.3 percent.
The Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) during the month was at 60.5 percent, accounting for 45.2 million Filipinos 15 years and over who were in the labor force.
The figure is lower than the LFPR in the same period last year at 61.7 percent and higher than the previous quarter’s 58.7 percent.
“In terms of number, those in the labor force in October were 43.6 million and these increased to 45.2 million in January 2021 so we have an additional 1.6 million who participated in the labor force,” said Mapa.
“Of [the 1.6 million], 1.4 million had jobs while 200,000 are unemployed. The higher number of people who participated in the January 2021 labor force increased the number of employed persons,” he added.
The nation’s employment rate stood at 91.3 percent, which is the same as the October 2020 rate but lower than the 94.7 percent in January last year. This means that 41.2 million Filipinos were employed, higher than the 39.8 million in October 2020 but lower than the 42.5 million in January 2020.
Underemployed persons or employed persons who expressed their desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or to have additional jobs, or to have a new job with longer hours of work was estimated at 6.6 million or 16 percent of the total employed persons in January 2021.
The underemployment rate is higher than the 14.4 percent and the 14.8 percent in October and January last year.
In a joint statement, Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said data showed that across sectors, the country is gradually getting back the jobs lost due to the pandemic.
“However, the smaller progress in the past quarter suggests the need to address remaining restrictions before the economy can get closer to normal,” they said.
The economic managers said that while the unemployment rate remains unchanged at 8.7 percent, more opportunities from the easing of restrictions meant that more people are rejoining the labor force. They also cited an improving unemployment rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) where some 269,000 jobs were restored.
Outside of NCR however, unemployment increased from 8.2 percent in October 2020 to 8.7 percent in January 2021. The underemployment rate also increased from 14.9 percent to 17.1 percent in the same period.
“These can be attributed to the loss of jobs and reduction in income from weather disturbances and flooding, the outbreak of the African Swine Fever that badly affected livestock production and continued mobility restrictions that affected travel and domestic tourism especially around the holiday season when people in the provinces typically have additional income opportunities,” the economic managers said.
To accelerate economic growth and job creation this year, they called for the safe reopening of the economy.
“We need to ensure that programs already budgeted for under Bayanihan 2 and under the
2020 and 2021 budgets are implemented quickly. Our recovery and long-term development prospects also hinge on accelerating the infrastructure program, which has the highest multiplier effect on jobs,” they explained.
“On one hand, we will need to be more vigilant in high-risk areas by strictly enforcing the health protocols and using localized quarantines. This way, we can reduce virus spread without affecting the healthy majority who are in need of jobs to address their hunger and other health concerns. On the other hand, in low-risk areas, we can gradually start allowing expanded capacities in businesses, transport, and other sectors, as well as safely widening the age group allowed to go out,” they added.