MANILA - Unemployment slightly climbed in December 2021, data from the latest Labor Force Survey released Thursday showed.
The unemployment rate for December hit 6.6 percent from 6.5 percent the previous month, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in a virtual briefing.
This is equivalent to 3.27 million jobless Filipinos in December from 3.16 million in November, the PSA said.
Meanwhile, the underemployment rate was lower for the month at 14.7 percent falling from 16.7 percent in November 2021, the survey showed. This means about 6.81 million Filipinos need more job hours from 7.62 million the previous month, the PSA said.
The employment rate for the month was at 93.4 percent, slightly lower compared to the 93.5 percent in November, data showed.
Jobs data for the month of January 2022 is expected to slightly deteriorate due to the surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the new omicron variant, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said.
"This will only be temporary as we vigorously pursue the implementation of the EDC’s (Economic Development Cluster) 10-point policy. This will set the stage for our full recovery in 2022," Chua said.
"We look forward to building on these gains in 2022 now that we have contained the spread of Omicron and have reverted back to alert level 2 in the National Capital Region and several provinces," he added.
Metro Manila is currently under the less tighter Alert Level 2 as the number of daily cases subsided in recent weeks.
Government expects "better numbers in the coming months of 2022," said Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.
He noted COVID-19 Alert 4 has been lifted in all parts of the country, allowing a higher operating capacity for businesses. The official also noted that the Philippines reopened to vaccinated foreign tourists on Thursday.
"We expect, ang bottom line, more of our kababayans going back to the labor force... mababa po iyong ating underemployment and better economic numbers generally for the country," he said.
(The bottom line is we expect more of our compatriots to go back to the labor force, our underemployment to go down.)
- with reports from Warren De Guzman and Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News