MANILA - June labor data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed more Filipinos braved the job market, with 390,000 more Filipinos boosting the Labor Force Participation rate to 65 percent for the month.
June’s active labor force was also 1.43 million stronger compared to April.
This meant that even though the unemployment and employment rates remained steady month-on-month at 7.7 percent and 92.3 percent respectively, there were actually more Filipinos who either found work or remained jobless.
Around 30,000 more Filipinos joined the ranks of the jobless in June compared to May. June’s total however is still 370,000 less compared to April, the last quarterly report which has a larger sample size.
In terms of employment, there were 360,000 more Filipinos with jobs month-on-month in June. When compared to the April jobs data, the increase jumps to 1.81 million more employed individuals 15 years old and above.
Unfortunately, whatever progress observed over the last few months will inevitably be interrupted by the coming Enhanced Community Quarantine in the National Capital Region, which takes effect on Aug. 6.
National Statistician Undersecretary Dennis Mapa said the new lockdown will impact employment.
“Kung pagbabasehan ang nakaraang datos nung nakaraang taon, kung saan nagkakaroon ng ecq implementation, doon nakikita ang pagtaas ng unemployment rate. That is our expectation this August," National Statistician Undersecretary Dennis Mapa said.
(If we base it on previous data from last year when the ECQ was implemented, we saw that there was a rise in the unemployment rate. That is our expectation for this August. )
The PSA data also showed ECQ and other lockdown conditions were still a significant factor for employees failing to go to work in June, with 15.1 percent of respondents saying they were affected. It was the third-highest cited reason for the month.
Mapa declined to comment on the forecasts of the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Department of Labor and Employment, on the impact of ECQ on the jobless number.
In a joint statement, economic managers said the government prioritized arresting the spread of the new COVID-19 Delta variant and the acceleration of the vaccination program.
As of Aug. 2, 9.37 million Filipinos have been fully vaccinated representing 13.2 percent of the government's 58 million target. At least 132.7 million doses are also expected to arrive in the next 6 weeks.
"With this rapid progress in the rate of inoculation and the expected arrival of 132.7 million doses in the next six months, we are confident that we can vaccinate 70 million Filipinos or the entire adult population by the end of 2021," the statement said.
However, based on the data collected from the government by the ABS-CBN Data Analytics Team, the government still needs to further accelerate daily jabs, if it wants to hit its vaccination goal before 2022.
The business sector calls for more contact tracing
Francisco Lim, President of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines, said in a reaction to the imposition of ECQ that “we strongly urge that the importation of more vaccines be treated with urgency and that an aggressive and efficient vaccination program and effective contact tracing be given heightened attention especially in areas that substantially contribute to our economy.”
There have been previous concerns regarding contact tracers, which were hired by the government on 6-month contracts in January.
Undersecretary Mapa said because the June jobs report has a smaller sample size, they could not determine whether or not the number of contact tracers was decreasing.
However, Mapa said “Nasa public administration daw sila, kasama sila sa mga surveys natin ito ay under short term job description.” (I'm told they are included under Public Administration and covered in our survey under short term job description.)
“Short term under public administration ay tumaas ng 40,000 nitong June vs May. Di ko pa masabi kung ito ay dahil sa pagtaas ng hiring ng contact tracers," he added.
(Short term jobs under public administration increased by 40,000 in June vs May. But I can't say if this is because of the hiring of contact tracers.)
The PSA June Jobs report data, however, also showed the Public administration industry was among the top 5 in terms of the largest drop in employment for the period, with a total of 98,000 jobs lost.