MANILA - Unemployment eased in March to 7.1 percent compared to the previous month, the state statistics bureau said on Thursday
The unemployment level is equivalent to 3.44 million jobless Filipinos for the month, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.
Joblessness in February was at 8.8 percent with 4.2 million unemployed Filipinos, slightly higher compared to the 8.7 percent level in January.
Labor force participation rate is at 65 percent, equivalent to 48.77 million for the month of March, still higher compared to 47.34 million or 63.5 percent in February, data showed.
The survey was conducted from March 8 to March 27 before the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) was imposed in the NCR Plus areas last March 29, National Statistician Dennis Mapa said in a virtual briefing.
The Philippines recorded the "worst" unemployment rate in 2020 at 10.4 percent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the PSA earlier said.
Figures from the labor department as of December 2020 showed about 5 million Filipinos lost their jobs due to the health crisis.
The lockdown imposed in late March 2021 in the NCR Plus bubble was less restrictive when it comes to mobility, therefore there is less impact on jobs, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua earlier said.
The NCR Plus bubble, which includes Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Rizal and Laguna remain under modified enhanced community quarantine, the second strictest lockdown, until May 14.
During the pre-SONA economic forum, Chua said all jobs lost during the 2020 lockdown have been restored, with more opportunities being offered.
However, the Asian Development Bank said that despite employment going back to the pre-pandemic levels, jobs generated are of lower quality. The lender also raised concerns on skills mismatch.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the government plans to provide jobs to 3.5 million Filipinos to reinvigorate the economy. Chua also said the economy could still catch up to its growth target of 7.5 percent this year.
More details to follow.