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Nearly half of all adults in Philippines were jobless last month, SWS survey shows

17 August 2020

By The SUN

Nearly half of all employed Filipinos have lost their jobs mainly because of the pandemic crisis

A record 45.5% of all adults in the Philippines were jobless in July 2020, a survey by the Social Weather Station (SWS) shows.

The figure was a full 28 points higher than the 17.1% posted in December 2019. This means that the actual number of adults without a job in the Philippines now is 27.3 million, compared with only 7.9 million in December last year.

Half of the unemployed respondents lost their jobs or livelihood during the coronavirus crisis, according to the survey. The other half were displaced even before the pandemic.
The data was collected from a national mobile phone survey conducted by SWS from Jul 3-6 this year, the result of which was published yesterday, Aug 16.

The biggest number of the unemployed came from Luzon (excluding the NCR), 23 percent; followed by Visayas, 19 percent; Mindanao, 19 percent; and Metro Manila, 18 percent.

Among the newly unemployed are the hundreds of thousands of displaced overseas Filipino workers. A news release issued by the Department of Labor and Employment also yesterday showed that more than 600,000 OFWs have lost their jobs because of the global crisis due to the pandemic.
The statement said a total of 604,403 OFWs had sought DOLE’s cash aid as of Aug 15 after losing their jobs. 

Of these, more than half are still at their jobsites, unable to return home due to travel restrictions or repeated flight cancellations. The others have already been repatriated, or flew home on their own.

Last month, official figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed the unemployment rate for the first quarter of the year rose to 17.7 percent, accounting to 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos by April 2020.
The PSA said then that this was a record high, reflecting the effects of the economic shutdown due to Covid-19. In comparison, the jobless rate for the last quarter of 2019 was 5.3 percent.

In addition, the PSA said the labor participation of Filipinos 15 years and older is just 55.6 percent in April 2020, the lowest ever recorded in the country.

However, the SWS study showed the adult labor force (18 years old and above) participation rate for July was 86.4%, for an estimated 60.0 million adults.  This is an increase from 68.7% in December 2019, for an estimated 45.5 million adults.

Adults who are jobless are defined as those who voluntarily left their jobs, are seeking jobs for the first time, or those who lost their jobs due to economic hardship.

The survey, conducted through phne a mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing of 1,555 adult Filipinos, also showed that those who lost their jobs during the COVID-19 crisis was highest in Balance Luzon (23 percent), followed by Visayas (19 percent), Mindanao (19 percent), and Metro Manila (18 percent).
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