The country’s unemployment rate in June 2022 remained unchanged at 6 percent, the same rate a month ago, but significantly lower than the 7.7 percent unemployment rate of the same period last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Monday.
In an online briefing, national statistician and civil registrar general Dennis Mapa said this translated to 2.99 million unemployed Filipinos out of 49.58 million who were in the labor force in June 2022.
The country’s employment rate in June 2022 also remained the same as the 94 percent rate reported a month ago. This was higher than the employment rate of 92.3 percent registered in the same period of 2021. Over 1.5 million Filipinos joined the labor force in June 2022 from the same month in 2021, bringing total employment to 46.6 million.
“There are significant increases in employment in the agriculture and forestry sector due to the harvest season… We hope the downward trend [in unemployment] will continue but we will see what will happen in July 2022,” Mapa said.
Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda said the number of jobless Filipinos has something to do with inflation.
“The most notable figure from the jobs report is the one on the wholesale and retail trade, which lost 1.2 million jobs. That is almost as much as the jobs gain in agriculture, at 1.26 million,” Salceda said.
“What this could indicate is that inflation is constraining people from spending on more discretionary items. Disposable income remains subdued, as I also stated regarding the July 2022 inflation report,” he added.
According to the legislator, the major job losers in that sector are supermarkets and department stores (192,000), hardware stores (189,000), and online or direct sales (144,000).
“I expect things to continue getting harder for brick and mortar stores as malls have begun to charge previously deferred or reduced rental payments. This is on top of the tighter competition due to online shopping networks- which also tend to be tax advantaged as we find it harder to enforce VAT on online sales,” Salceda said.
Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the country needs a safe and full reopening of the economy to return to a high-growth path and reinvigorate job creation.
“In the near term, we will prioritize the immediate issues of rising inflation, the vulnerability of certain groups to shocks, and the pandemic-induced scarring to ensure that growth and employment gains are sustained,” Balisacan said.
He said the reopening of the economy, including the resumption of face-to-face schooling, will boost domestic activities and insulate the economy against external headwinds.
The June 2022 round of PSA’s Labor Force Survey showed that the country’s underemployment rate—the proportion of those already employed but still wanting more work—dropped further to 12.6 percent from 14.2 percent in June 2021.
“The latest data show a significant increase in the number of workers employed on a full-time basis. While this is a good indication of the improving quality of work in our country, the government should incessantly boost its efforts toward providing an environment conducive to the creation of more and better employment opportunities,” Balisacan said.
In terms of hours of work, full-time employment, or those who worked for more than 40 hours a week, increased substantially by 11.0 percent or an additional 3.0 million individuals, while part-time workers declined by 8.0 percent or 1.4 million fewer individuals compared to June 2021. The mean hours of work improved from 39.0 in June 2021 to 40.3 in June 2022.
Balisacan said the immediate and safe resumption of face-to-face classes is anticipated not only to increase domestic activities but also to prevent future productivity losses.