PH 'double-digit' unemployment likely due to COVID-19 impact: analysts

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 02 2020 10:43 AM | Updated as of Sep 02 2020 12:54 PM

Quezon City businesses remain closed during the enhanced community quarantine on April 29,2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File​

MANILA - Unemployment in the Philippines will likely remain at "double-digit" levels in July, with some expecting worse figures and others hoping for some pick-up as restrictions ease, analysts said Wednesday. 

The influx of 2020 graduates who weren't able to find jobs due to the pandemic could contribute to the jobless figures, ING Philippines senior economist Nicholas Mapa said in a statement. 

In a worse case scenario, unemployment in July could hit 22.9 percent, Mapa said. 

"We fear a worst case a scenario of unemployment hitting 22.9 percent...the current reading should reflect the influx of fresh graduates who would have likely had trouble securing jobs in this challenging job market," Mapa said.

Unemployment ballooned in April by 17.7 percent, equivalent to 7.3 million jobless Filipinos. The economy crash landed into recession after the second quarter growth nosedived 16.5 percent due to the pandemic. 

Unemployment could reach 10 to 12 percent from 17.7 percent as easing restrictions could have led to some "pick-up," RCBC Economics and Industry Research Division head Michael Ricafort said.

"The trend in local unemployment rate data would remain at double-digit levels...Further reopening of the local economy from lockdowns (GCQ from June-July 2020) would fundamentally lead to some pick up/improvement in the economic data, including unemployment," Ricafort said. 

The government is set to announce the July unemployment numbers on Sept. 3, Thursday. 

Inflation data is expected to be released Friday, Sept. 4.

Metro Manila and four other areas will remain under general community quarantine until Sept. 30, President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said.