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July PH Unemployment Rate Projected to Hit 22.9%

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Key Points

  • Dutch banking giant ING said that the unemployment rate in July likely surpassed a fifth of the Philippine’s workforce.
  • It predicted the jobless rate in the country reached a new high of 22.9 percent last month, up from April’s 17.7 percent.
  • The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will announce the results of their Labor Force Survey July Round on Friday, September 4.
  • Visit The Financial Today’s homepage for more stories.

Manila • As more businesses shed jobs during the prolonged COVID-19 lockdown, Dutch banking giant ING said, the unemployment rate in July likely surpassed a fifth of the Philippine’s workforce.

It predicted the jobless rate in the country reached a new high of 22.9 percent last month, up from April’s 17.7 percent.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) will announce the results of their Labor Force Survey July Round on Friday, September 4.

“Job losses undoubtedly piled on in the months after [April] given that the economy is now in recession,” Nicholas Antonio T. Mapa, ING’s senior economist for the Philippines, told the Inquirer last week.

“The more than 20-percent unemployment should reflect the 16.5-percent decline in gross domestic product in the second quarter and [which is] not likely to get up anytime soon,” Mapa said.

Following the longest and most strict lockdown of COVID-19 in the region imposed from mid-March to May, the Philippine government gradually eased quarantine restrictions beginning in June to allow economic recovery, even though some jobs did not resume.

Mapa noted that “most of the layoffs may have happened after April,” as companies at the height of the lockdown were affected most badly.

“We also saw an influx of graduates into the workforce so we could see an increase in the scores of the unemployed,” Mapa added.

An estimated 4.9 million Filipinos were out of work in April, according to PSA.

It said that the month saw unemployment rise to its highest rate—17.7 percent—after the economy’s engines had to stop amid one of Southeast Asia’s most stringent COVID-19 lockdowns, putting the recent significant gains in poverty reduction at risk.

Preliminary findings from the PSA labor force survey showed that as of April 7.3 million were unemployed, rising from 2.3 million a year earlier and 2.4 million in January.

In April 2019 the unemployment rate was just 5.1 percent and in January this year, it was 5.3 percent.

The unemployment rate in April was the highest since April 2005, when the government changed its criteria for measuring employment. Using a different methodology, government reports revealed the last time the double-digit jobless rate was almost 30 years ago — in the second quarter of 1991.

The decline in employment rate to 82.3 percent last April from 94.9 percent a year ago and 94.7 percent in January translated to a drop of 8 million in the number of Filipinos with jobs to 33.8 million from 41.8 million last year. In January, 42.7 million Filipinos were employed.

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