Dissecting Data: Underemployment falls to record low in May

Warren de Guzman and Edson Guido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 01 2021 04:13 PM

MANILA - Employment bounced back in May in step with the rollback of quarantine conditions, after the return to tighter lockdowns in April to address a spike in COVID-19, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. 

Both unemployment and underemployment levels were down, and over 60 percent of the labor force were back to working full-time jobs, or 40 hours per week, the PSA said.

Dissecting Data: Underemployment falls to record low in May 1
Dissecting Data: Underemployment falls to record low in May 2

National Statistician, Undersecretary Dennis Mapa said the 12.3 percent underemployment rate for May has not only outperformed the pre-pandemic underemployment rates of 2019, but it is also now the lowest on record. 

“Yung ating underemployment rate sa May na nasa 12.3 percent. Ito ay pinakamababa," Mapa said. 

"Sa time series na tina-track. Substantial na ang number of persons na nagkaroon ng full-time jobs. Hindi na sila naghahanap ng trabaho.” he added. 

Dissecting Data: Underemployment falls to record low in May 3

Mapa noted three sectors helped provide the most number of full-time jobs in May. 

“I’m looking at full-time workers, working 40 to 48 hours a week itong Mayo. Ang tatlo na may mataas na increases sa employment, full-time workers, construction, increase of 637,000, wholesale and retail trade and motorcycle and vehicle repair, increase of 573,000, and manufacturing, increase of 538,000. Dito nangaling yung mga karamihan na matatawag natin na full time workers.” 

Dissecting Data: Underemployment falls to record low in May 4

However, the unemployment rate of the Philippines remained elevated at 7.7 percent in May. This was lower compared to April, again during the height of the 2021 lockdowns, but higher compared to March. 

“Sa monthly and quarterly data sa unemployment rate ito ang 16th highest at 7.7%. Hindi pa natin matatawag na mababa sya,” Mapa said. 
While the improvement in jobs was attributed to the easing of lockdown conditions, Mapa said he expects to see the impact of the vaccination program in the June jobs report. 

The economic managers of the Duterte administration, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, and Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado say the acceleration of the vaccination program should help solidify and accelerate the gains in employment made in May. 

“With strong collaboration among the government, the private sector, and international development partners, we have sped up the inoculation drive. As of June 27, 2021, vaccine deployment reached 10 million doses. This consists of 7.5 million and 2.5 million for the first and second doses, respectively.”

“Of this, 829,662 workers have received their first dose from only 11,430 on May 26, following the expansion of the A4 priority group on May 27 to cover all who work outside their homes. We encourage local government units and establishments to coordinate on setting up vaccination facilities in workplaces. This will accelerate vaccine deployment and give our workers the confidence to go out and earn a living while keeping their families safe.”

“The vaccination of the A5 sector or the indigent population has also started. With an additional 27 million doses scheduled to arrive from now until August 2021, we expect our vaccination program to proceed at a faster pace as we target to inoculate 70 million Filipinos or the entire adult population by the end of the year. Thus far, vaccine deployment has reached as high as 355,000 per day.”

Daily average of vaccine doses administered:

May 31 to June 6 = 112,621
June 7-13 = 140,985
June 14-20 = 208,809
June 21-27 = 236,867 

(Source: ABS-CBN Data Analytics, data from DOH)

The daily vaccination rate however is at 236,867 doses per day, based on the latest data from the Philippine Health Department for the week of June 21 to 27. This is the highest vaccination rate of the Philippines yet. However, if this rate is maintained, the target of 70 million Filipinos will only be hit by December 2022.

The May 2021 data report used a smaller sample size compared to the quarterly reports of the PSA, and only provides a picture of employment on a national level.

According to the ABS-CBN News Vaccine Tracker, only 2,527,286 Filipinos have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of June 27, representing just 4.36 percent of 58 million target for "population protection."