MANILA (UPDATE) – The Philippines’ unemployment rate improved in July compared to April data as the government eased COVID-19 lockdowns to help resuscitate the economy.
Unemployment in July was at 10 percent, translating to about 4.6 million jobless Filipinos.
In April, the jobless rate was at 17.7 percent, or a total of 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos, which government said reflected the "effect of the economic shutdown." [APRIL: https://news.abs-cbn.com/business/06/05/20/philippines-coronavirus-covid-lockdown-record-unemployment-jobless-73-million ]
“Ten percent o 4.6 milyong Pilipino nasa labor force ay walang trabaho o negosyo noong nakaraang July 2020. Ang 10 percent unemployment rate ay mas mataas ng 2.2 million kaysa bilang ng July 2019 na nasa 2.4 million,” National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said in a virtual press briefing.
“I was expecting this precisely because the economy has somewhat opened up. That meant that a lot of people were able to go back to work even partially so I was quite sure that the numbers would be improving,” Former Philippine Economic Planning Secretary Cielito Habito told ANC.
“It’s not something to celebrate about because it’s still in double digits in the aggregate but there’s a silver lining that we’re seeing here,” he added.
The Labor Force Participation, or individuals in the labor force, is at 61.9 percent in July 2020 or 45.9 million, compared to 62.1 percent in July last year and 55.6 percent in April 2020.
TOP REGIONS IN TERMS OF UNEMPLOYMENT
The National Capital Region (NCR), the country’s economic epicenter posted the highest unemployment rate at 15.8 percent or 929,000 jobless workers from 12.3 percent in April.
Region IV-A or CALABARZON is at second place with 12.4 percent unemployment rate or 886,000 individuals. Region 7 with 11.7 percent and Central Luzon or Region 3 at 10.9 percent.
The lowest jobless rate was recorded in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) at 3.8 percent.
The unemployment rate was at 5.4 percent in July 2019, while underemployment was at 13.6 percent, government data showed.
Thousands of overseas Filipino workers who lost their jobs were also repatriated, which could hit remittances this year.
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Benjamin Diokno said remittances may contract by 5.5 percent this year due to the pandemic.
The Philippines fell into recession following a steep 16.5 percent drop in gross domestic product in the second quarter.
Metro Manila and few other provinces remain under general community quarantine as the government grapples to balance workers’ health and safety as well as reopening and resuscitating the economy.