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More than 7 million Filipinos now without jobs, Dole says

05 June 2020

By The SUN

The lockdown of Luzon, including Metro Manila, accounted for much of the record drop in unemployment

The coronavirus pandemic and the community lockdown to keep the contagion in check have left 7.3 million Filipinos jobless, resulting in the country’s highest unemployment rate ever of 17.7%, Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said today, Jun 5.

The lockdown during the community quarantine from March to May also caused a huge 55.6% drop in the labor force participation rate, the biggest fall in the history of the Philippine labor market, Bello said.

Commenting on the Department of Labor and Employment’s April Labor Force Survey, Bello said that the unemployment rate this time surpassed the 10.3% rate during the 1998 recession in the Philippines.

It also surpassed the previously highest unemployment record of 14.4%, posted in the second quarter of 1991.

“The lockdown during the community quarantine from March to May, which is supposed to be the period for job hunting of our fresh graduates, has put the labor force at a standstill as two-thirds of the economy is shut down,” Bello said.

According to National Statistician Dennis Mapa, unemployment was only at 5.3% in January 2020, or 2.4 million people, and 5.1% in April 2019, or 2.3 million

After January 2020, an additional 4.9 million people became jobless. This was in line with Dole's estimate that 5 million more jobs would be lost due to the pandemic.

The community quarantine forced hundreds of thousands of establishments to resort to temporary closures or flexible work arrangements, while the global economic decline left hundreds of thousands of Filipino overseas without jobs.

As a result, millions of workers were affected in the formal, informal and overseas sectors, Bello said.
OFWs who lost their jobs because of the pandemic also contributed to the steep rise in the jobless rate

The Philippine Statistics Authority placed the figure of employed workers who had to stop working due to the lockdown at 38.4%.

Metro Manila, where more than 65% of the nation’s economy is concentrated, ground to a halt as the public transport system shut down. 

The country’s employment rate fell to 82.3%, from 94.7% in January 2020 and 94.9% in April 2019.

Underemployment, or people who have jobs but are looking for more to meet their needs, rose to 18.9% in April from the 13.4% in the same month last year. This represents 6.4 million workers or an additional 781,000 people looking for more jobs.

The labor force participation rate among Filipinos 15 years and older is estimated at 55.6%, the lowest since 1987, when data was first available.
All regions reported double-digit unemployment rates in April 2020, with the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao suffering the worst at 29.8%.

The arts, entertainment, and recreation sector was hit the most, where 54% of workers lost their jobs. From 436,000 in April 2019, the number of workers in the industry fell to only 200,000 workers in April 2020.

The second highest decline was in the electricity, gas, steam, and air-conditioning supply sector, which recorded a 43.1% drop. From 108,000 workers, only 61,000 were employed in April 2020.

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