DOLE optimistic of labor market pre-pandemic recovery: official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2022 11:07 AM | Updated as of May 04 2022 11:10 AM

Job hunters visit a job fair in Manila on Labor Day, May 1, 2022. An estimated 3.13 million Filipinos are jobless, while around 6.38 million Filipinos are underemployed based on the February 2022 report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News
Job hunters visit a job fair in Manila on Labor Day, May 1, 2022. An estimated 3.13 million Filipinos are jobless, while around 6.38 million Filipinos are underemployed based on the February 2022 report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine labor market is poised to rebound to its pre-pandemic level with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions and the recovery of businesses, an official said Wednesday.

Unemployment could settle back to the 5 percent mark next semester, Department of Labor and Employment Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez told ANC.

Unemployment doubled to 10.3 percent in 2020 from 5.1 percent in 2019. It has since eased to 7.8 percent in 2021, data showed.

Underemployment meanwhile was at 15.9 percent in 2021 from 16.4 percent in 2020 and 13.8 percent in 2019.

"Barring any surge in COVID cases, we expect that next semester, we will recover the employment rates to pre-pandemic level. Since we are already opening the economy, we are expecting to rebound to the pre-pandemic level of employment and underemployment," Benavidez said.

DOLE is also bringing back face-to-face job fairs with the most recent event featuring manufacturing and business process outsourcing jobs, he said.

When asked what the current administration's legacy for the overseas Filipino workers would be, Benavidez said it would include the establishment of a department for migrant workers and an OF (overseas Filipino) bank.

For the next administration, the labor department should focus on the recovery of pandemic-hit sectors such as tourism, he said.

In February 2022, there were 3.13 million jobless Filipinos as the unemployment rate hit 6.4 percent. 

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