Despite drop in numbers, joblessness still 'very high' at 39.5 pct: SWS

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 08 2020 03:29 PM

MANILA - Some 39.5 percent or 23.7 million Filipino adults or around 23.7 million are jobless, a decline from July figures but still "very high," a Social Weather Stations survey this week showed. 

Despite drop in numbers, joblessness still 'very high' at 39.5 pct: SWS 1

In a national mobile phone survey conducted on 1,249 adult Filipinos from September 17 to 20, SWS found that the numbers declined from the record-high 45.5 percent of Filipinos reported to be jobless in July, as more businesses started reopening with eased quarantine restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"This is a 6-point decline from the record-high 45.5 percent in July 2020," SWS said in their report published Monday. 

Among those surveyed, 14 percent lost their jobs during the pandemic, a decline from 21 percent in the July survey.

A record-high joblessness rating was recorded in July, when SWS reported that 27.3 million Filipinos had no jobs. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has left workers in some industries scrambling to find income, with the government limiting operations of some businesses to contain the virus spread. The recent figures published show an approximate 3.6 million drop in the number of unemployed individuals, as quarantine measures in some areas relaxed to open the economy. 


The research group attributed the drop in joblessness to figures from Balance Luzon Mindanao and Metro Manila. However, it noted a “record-high” increase in the number of jobless people in Visayas for the month of September. 

For Balance Luzon, the jobless rate decreased from 45.2 percent to 33.5 percent. It also slightly decreased in Metro Manila and Mindanao in September. Metro Manila saw a decrease to 39.9 percent from 43.5 percent, while Mindanao noted a decrease to 40 percent from 46.5 percent. 

However, it rose in the Visayas, from the previous record of 46.6% in July 2020 to a new record-high 52% in September 2020.

Adult joblessness in urban areas dropped to 38.5 percent from 43.9 percent, while joblessness in rural areas dropped to 39.9 percent from 46.6 percent. 


While there is a drop in the number of jobless people, the research group said there was an increase in hunger among those without work. 

Families experiencing “involuntary hunger” increased by 13 points, or from 25.4 to 38.3 percent among those with no jobs or livelihood; and 14 points from 24.2 to 38.4 percent for those who never had jobs. 

“Involuntary hunger” is defined by the group as “hunger due to the lack of food to eat.” 

Meanwhile, families experiencing “moderate hunger” increased from 19.4 percent to 27.1 percent for those with no jobs or livelihood; and 16.4 percent to 27.8 percent for those who have never had jobs or livelihood.

SWS defines “moderate hunger” as experiencing hunger "only once" to "a few times" in the last three months. 

The number of those experiencing “severe hunger” or those who “often or always” experienced hunger in the last three months rose among those with no job or livelihood, from 6 percent to 11.2 percent, and among those who have never had a job or livelihood before, from 7.8 percent to 10.6 percent. 

The survey-making body earlier noted a “record-high” increase in the number of families experiencing hunger, with an estimated 7.6 million households or 30.7 percent of Filipinos.