By Ana Olivia A. Tirona, Researcher
THE PHILIPPINES’ unemployment price steadied on a month-to-month foundation in February, however the variety of jobless Filipinos elevated to three.126 million regardless of the gradual reopening of the economic system, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday.
The unemployment price stood at 6.4% in February, unchanged from the earlier month’s jobless price however smaller than the 8.8% in the identical month of 2021, preliminary estimates from the company’s newest Labor Drive Survey confirmed.
This was the bottom share of the unemployed to the overall Filipino labor drive in over two years or for the reason that 5.3% in January 2020.
In absolute phrases, the ranks of unemployed Filipinos picked up by 201,000 on a month-to-month foundation to three.126 million in February. This, nonetheless, was decrease by 1.061 million from 4.187 million a yr in the past when tighter mobility restrictions have been nonetheless applied.
The dimensions of the Filipino labor drive, in the meantime, expanded by 2.462 million month on month to 48.606 million in February. It was 1.265 million larger than the 47.341 million a yr in the past.
This translated to a labor drive participation price (LFPR) — or the share of the workforce to the overall working age inhabitants — of 63.8% that month, a two-month excessive for the reason that 65.1% in December final yr.
After the Alert Degree 1 in January, Metro Manila and different areas have been positioned underneath a extra relaxed Alert Degree 2 beginning February because the variety of coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19) infections declined.
“This allowed extra Filipinos to rejoin the labor drive. We goal to shift your complete nation to Alert Degree 1 to allow much more Filipinos to find work,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua mentioned in a press release.
As of April 1, the Nationwide Financial and Growth Authority (NEDA) mentioned 79% of the economic system is now underneath essentially the most lenient Alert Degree 1.
Mr. Chua as soon as once more reiterated the necessity for the total resumption of face-to-face lessons, saying this can permit extra dad and mom who supervise their kids’s on-line lessons to return to work.
“The unchanged unemployment price merely means no dramatic enchancment within the jobs market regardless of alert degree happening,” College of the Philippines Professor Emeritus Rene E. Ofreneo mentioned in an e-mail interview.
“The typical LFPR within the pre-COVID-19 years was one thing like 65-66%. This implies within the COVID-19 years, much less variety of working age inhabitants have been actively ‘taking part’ within the labor drive (both with jobs or in search of jobs) on account of what everyone knows — lockdowns and lack of obtainable jobs […] Nevertheless, it doesn’t imply that the roles market is okay,” Mr. Ofreneo mentioned.
In the meantime, Commerce Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay mentioned in a Viber message there may be an uptick in employment as some companies noticed elevated exercise because of the election marketing campaign interval. The nationwide elections are on Might 9.
In a press launch, analysis group IBON Basis, Inc. mentioned the larger employment numbers don’t imply the job disaster is easing.
“Jobs being created [in February] are extra partly time, self-employment and casual work than common and formal work in personal institutions,” IBON mentioned. “This reveals that hundreds of thousands of employed Filipinos are simply making an attempt to get by on no matter they’ll do to make a residing.”
The standard of jobs improved because the underemployment price — the proportion of these already working however nonetheless in search of extra work or longer working hours to the overall employed inhabitants — eased to 14% in February from 14.9% in January. It was additionally smaller than the 18.2% underemployment price in the identical month final yr.
This was equal to six.382 million underemployed Filipinos, or 15,000 lower than the 6.397 million in January and 1.468 million decrease than February final yr’s 7.850 million.
The February underemployment price was the bottom in 9 months since 12.3% in Might final yr.
“The standard of jobs being generated can be a grave concern… Underemployment continues to be too excessive for consolation,” Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa Secretary Basic Josua T. Mata mentioned in a Viber message.
The employment price — the proportion of the employed to the overall labor drive — was recorded at 93.6% in February, unchanged from January however larger than the 91.2% in February final yr.
In absolute phrases, this was equal to 45.480 million employed individuals in February versus 43.018 million in January, and 43.153 million in the identical month a yr in the past.
A Filipino employee labored on a median of 40.8 hours per week in February, decrease than 41.8 hours in January however marginally larger than 38.9 hours a yr in the past.
The providers sector remained the most important employer in February, accounting for 58.2%. This was decrease than the 58.9% share the earlier month. It was adopted by agriculture (23.9% from 21.7%) and trade (17.9% from 19.3%).
For Mr. Ofreneo, the decline of employment share within the trade sector is “worrisome” because it reflects the nation’s incapacity to industrialize.
“Concerning agriculture, progress in employment is probably going on account of difficulties of rural inhabitants to find various jobs. I say this as a result of the disaster of agriculture sector is effectively documented, particularly the lament of farmers,” Mr. Ofreneo added.
Mr. Tanjusay, the spokesperson of the nation’s largest labor federation, mentioned for the approaching months, the rising inflation because of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict is “worrisome” and should threaten financial progress.
“The momentary employment (created through the marketing campaign interval for the) nationwide elections will even think about after the elections. Companies and traders will even wait and see what would be the insurance policies of the successful administration,” Mr. Tanjusay mentioned.
The February spherical of LFS was performed from Feb. 8 to twenty-eight.