NEDA says further spike in unemployment 'unlikely' as economic recovery program in place

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 03 2020 02:41 PM

Commuters take advantage of free rides provided by the local government in Valenzuela City on August 18, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - Unemployment in the country is unlikely to see a "spike" as the economy further reopens and recovery measures are in place, Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said Thursday.

Unemployment could go back to 4 to 5 percent by 2022 in anticipation of a COVID-19 vaccine next year, more jobs generated as the economy further reopens and with the implementation of government's recovery program, Chua said during a briefing with the country's economic managers reacting to the July unemployment data. 

Some 2.4 to 2.8 million jobs are expected to be generated by 2021 if the economy continues to improve. Anticipated jobs next year could bring the jobless rate to 6 percent to 8 percent, Chua said.

Unemployment in July 2020 is at 10 percent, or 4.6 million jobless Filipinos, higher compared to 5.4 percent in July 2019 but an improvement from the 17.7 percent in April this year, government data showed.

"We are unlikely to see any spikes so long as we all cooperate and so long as government implements in an accelerated manner the recovery program,” Chua said. 

"If we are able to see a significant return of jobs..if we continue the level of the quarantine or improve upon it in the coming months, then we can see the improvements as we go through the remaining months of the year,” he added.

Some 500,000 overseas Filipino workers were displaced by the COVID-19 pandemic, while 200,000 more could also lose their jobs if the situation does not improve, Bureau of Local Employment director Dominique Tutay said during the briefing. 

With OFWs returning home, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas earlier predicted a 5 percent drop in remittances this year, but BSP Assistant Governor Francisco Dakila Jr said remittances could rebound by 4 percent in 2021.

Congress recently approved the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, which provides allocation for recovery programs. 

-- with a report from Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News.