Less COVID-19 restrictions and the shift to an endemic mindset are creating more jobs in the Philippines.
A safe and full reopening of the economy, says the National Economic and Development Authority, will reinvigorate job creation as proven by the latest employment data.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed the country’s unemployment rate in June 2022 significantly declined to 6 percent from 7.7-percent in the same period last year.
Over 1.5 million Filipinos joined the labor force in June from the same month in 2021, bringing total employment to 46.6 million. Employment also grew across all sectors, particularly in the industry, agriculture, and services sectors amidst the easing of restrictions.
“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,” says Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.
Boost to economy
The reopening of the economy, including the resumption of face-to-face schooling, is expected to boost domestic activities further and insulate the economy against external headwinds.
The June 2022 round of PSA’s Labor Force Survey showed 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 towards 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 8.0 percent or 1.4 million fewer individuals compared to June 2021.
Correspondingly, the mean hours of work improved from 39.0 in June 2021 to 40.3 in June 2022. Balisacan said that 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.
Stronger health system
With this, the Department of Health launched its new campaign, “PinasLakas,” which aims to scale up the vaccination of booster doses nationwide.
To increase their accessibility, vaccination stations are placed in high-traffic areas such as terminals, schools, malls, plazas, and places of worship.
“As we continue to fully reopen the economy, we must remain vigilant and adhere to minimum health standards to ensure that Filipinos remain healthy and productive. We will also strengthen our health system to ensure that it is able to effectively and quickly respond to health situations as and where needed,” Balisacan said.
He said adjusting to the “new normal” and gradually shifting to an endemic mindset is critical in generating more employment and strengthening the domestic economy.
Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said the jobs market has continued to improve. “The quality of jobs has improved, too. The average weekly hours worked by an employed worker in June was estimated at 40.3 hours per week, up from the mean hours worked in May (39.8 hours),” said Diokno said.