MANILA - Unemployment rose in January with around 4 million adult Filipinos, representing 8.7 percent of the labor force, jobless in the first month of the year compared to the same period last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Tuesday.
January's unemployment rate contrasted with the 5.3 percent jobless rate in the same month last year with the estimated number of persons out of work at 2.39 million, before the country felt the full brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This also contrasted with the estimated 3.8 million adult Filipinos who were jobless as of October, representing 8.7 percent of the labor force.
For 2020, the average jobless rate was 10.4 percent, or 4.5 million adult Filipinos, the highest since 2005.
The underemployment rate for January 2021 settled at 16 percent, data showed.
An independent survey by the Social Weather Stations meanwhile put the average joblessness rate for 2020 at a record-high 37.4 percent.
The PSA and SWS use different metrics for measuring unemployment.
Last year, the Philippines suffered its worst economic contraction since the end of World War 2.
Government economic managers have said that employment should recover this year as the economy gradually reopens and bounces back to positive growth.
Businesses, especially small firms, suffered from significant loss of income due to the months-long lockdown. In June 2020, DOLE said some 2,000 companies declared permanent closure, redundancy or retrenchment.
During the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon last year, unemployment in the country ballooned to 7.3 million, as the jobless rate rose to 17.7 percent in April, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.