Unemployment worsens with 4.2 million jobless in February — PSA

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 29) — Unemployment has worsened with 4.2 million Filipinos reported jobless in February this year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Tuesday.

This figure translates to an 8.8% unemployment rate, which is slightly higher than 8.7% or 4 million recorded jobless in January, the Philippine Statistics Authority reported on Tuesday, it added.

In a virtual briefing, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said employed Filipinos were recorded at 43.2 million, which is 1.8 million higher than the 41.2 million employed in January.

However, employment rate slightly declined to 91.2% from 91.3% in January. Mapa said this discrepancy was due to an increased labor force participation rate of 63.5%, which refers to employed or unemployed Filipinos looking for work. This is higher than January's 60.5%.

Underemployed Filipinos, or those seeking more working hours and earnings, also rose to 7.9 million. This is equivalent to an 18.2% underemployment rate, a bit higher than the 16% or 6.6 million underemployed in January.

Employed, but work interrupted

The survey also showed that 1.5% of the employed Filipinos were unable to go to work due to lockdown restrictions as of last month, a bit higher than January's 0.5%.

The top reasons cited for work interruptions during this period were their nature of work, reduction in clients, stricter lockdown rules, and medical limitations.

The February survey also bared that 9.1 million Filipinos experienced being temporarily or permanently laid off during the pandemic. Of this number, 6.9 million were once again employed, while 1.2 million remain jobless. There are over a million who are not in the labor force but also experienced being laid off as of last month.

In a joint statement, acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said that the Duterte administration "will not squander the opportunity" to slow down COVID-19 transmission and recalibrate their response strategies.

"We will continue to monitor closely and assess the health and economic data as they come in order for us to deliver timely interventions and provide better opportunities for the people, especially the poor, amid this prolonged health crisis," they said.

The PSA is now conducting its labor force survey monthly to produce high frequency data on labor and employment, Mapa said.

Data on the impact of the latest quarantine restrictions will likely reflect in the April 2021 survey, he added.

Metro Manila, Cavite, Bulacan, Laguna and Rizal were placed under a week-long enhanced community quarantine to control the surge in COVID-19 cases. The country has been reporting record-high cases for the past days, with the highest single day tally of 10,016 new cases recorded on Monday.