PH joblessness at 19%, not yet back to pre-pandemic level – SWS

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 25) — At least 19% of the adult labor force or 8.7 million Filipinos are unemployed as of March this year, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

“This was 2.3 points below the 21.3% in December 2022 and 7 points below the 26% in April 2022. However, it was still 1.5 points above the 17.5% in December 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic,” it said.

The SWS said the decline in unemployment is due to the decrease in joblessness from all areas of the country except Mindanao.

“Compared to December 2022, the quarterly joblessness fell from 24.8% in Metro Manila, 23.1% in Balance Luzon, and 18.6% in the Visayas. However, it hardly moved from 18.1% in Mindanao,” it explained.

The SWS added that joblessness peaked in July 2020 at 45.5% during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its downward trend began from September 2020 to December 2022, reaching as low as 18.6% in October 2022.

According to SWS, the jobless citizens are those who voluntarily left their old jobs, are seeking jobs for the first time, and lost their jobs due to uncontrollable economic circumstances.

The survey defines the labor force as adults who are 18 years old and above presently having jobs and those currently seeking jobs.

The non-commissioned survey was conducted via face-to-face interviews from March 26 to 29. It included 1,200 adult participants nationwide with 300 each from Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.