August 03, 2021 at 08:10 pm
Julito G. Rada
The unemployment rate stayed at 7.7 percent in June, but is expected to rise this month with the implementation of the stricter enhanced community quarantine from Aug. 6 to 20 in Metro Manila to prevent the further spread of the more virulent Delta variant of COVID-19.
National statistician Dennis Mapa said in an online briefing on the June 2021 Labor Force Survey that unemployment rate was the same as the 7.7 percent reported in May. The rate was lower than those in April (8.7 percent), February (8.8 percent) and January (8.7 percent), but higher than 7.1 percent reported in March.
Employment rate in June 2021 remained unchanged at 92.3 percent from May 2021.
“ We do not make any forecast on the number of possible job losses [in August] but data show that there is an increase in unemployment when there (are) restrictions [or lockdowns], the highest of which was in April 2020,” Mapa said.
“Lockdowns have impact on employment. We will see it when we report the August survey,” Mapa said.
Economic managers led by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Economic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua and Budget Department officer-in-charge Tina Rose Marie Canda said in a joint statement the labor force survey results for June showed the limits of job creation without major relaxations in quarantine restrictions, especially in the National Capital Region.
“With the emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant, the government has prioritized arresting the spread of this more contagious virus through more proactive quarantines in high-risk areas and an accelerated vaccination program. These actions are crucial in ensuring that economic gains in recent months will resume once we have addressed this current threat,” they said.
They said while the ECQ imposition might temporarily impact employment outcomes in August, the government was determined to maximize this period to accelerate vaccination in high-risk areas to safely resume economic activities and restore jobs.
Government data showed that as of Aug. 1, 2021, 20.9 million doses were administered, consisting of 11.7 million and 9.1 million for the first and second doses, respectively.
The government achieved its fastest vaccination drive in July, administering around 10 million doses. Towards the end of July, the country reported its highest number of jabs in one day at 659,029. The average daily doses administered in the last seven days reached 523,018.
“With this rapid progress in the rate of inoculation and the expected arrival of 132.7 million doses in the next six months, we are confident that we can vaccinate 70 million Filipinos or the entire adult population by the end of 2021,” the economic managers said.
Michael Ricafort, chief economist of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., said the unemployment rate could pick up again, “back to 8 percent levels in view of the upcoming 2-week pre-emptive ECQ in NCR from August 6 to 20, 2021, coinciding with the ghost month for most days of August that could also lead to less economic/business activities, which could lead to some pick up in unemployment.”
The June 2021 LFS also showed that in terms of magnitude, 3.76 million Filipinos 15 years old and over were unemployed in June 2021, compared to 3.73 million in May 2021.
The labor force participation rate in June was registered at 65.0 percent or about 48.84 million Filipinos 15 years and over who were either employed or unemployed.
Employment rate in June was unchanged at 92.3 percent from May 2021. This means that 45.08 million were employed out of 48.84 million Filipinos in the labor force in June 2021.
Underemployment rate went up to 14.2 percent in June from the estimated 12.3 percent in May. This translated to an increase of 918,000 underemployed persons, from 5.49 million in May to 6.41 million in June 2021.
By broad industry group, the services sector accounted for the largest share (57.6 percent) of employed persons in June. The agriculture and the industry sectors contributed 24.3 percent and 18.1 percent, respectively, to the 45.08 million total employed persons.
Chua said last week the economy would lose around P210 billion for the two-week implementation of the strictest enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila to curb the increasing number of new COVID-19 cases.
“Latest estimate from NEDA show that each week of ECQ in NCR will cost the economy P105 billion. Also increase poor people by up to 177,000 and 444,000 more without jobs,” Chua said.