4.41M jobless in April 2021

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UNEMPLOYED individuals in the country rose to 4.41 million in April 2021 following the reimposition of stricter quarantine measures in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other nearby areas from 3.44 million in March 2021.

This after the inflation rate came in at 8.7 percent in April 2021, a moderate increase from 7.1 percent in March 2021, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Tuesday, June 8, 2021.

This is significantly better than the record-high unemployment rate of 17.6 percent in April 2020 at the height of last year’s enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

According to the joint statement of President Rodrigo Duterte’s economic team, the impact of the ECQ and modified ECQ on unemployment is more pronounced in regions with stricter quarantine measures, further highlighting the sensitivity of the labor market to the quarantine level.

The NCR and Calabarzon, where the strictest quarantines were imposed, posted the highest regional unemployment rates in April 2021 of 14.4 percent and 13.4 percent, respectively.

But the unemployment rate outside the NCR continued its general downward trend, declining from 8.7 percent in January 2021 to 7.9 percent in April 2021.

“This reflects the gains from the safe reopening of the economy in the provinces,” the team said.

The underemployment rate also increased from 16.2 percent in March 2021 to 17.2 percent in April 2021, indicating the reduction in income during the ECQ and MECQ periods.

In fact, the underemployment rate in the NCR increased sharply from 8.2 percent in January 2021 to 15.5 percent in April 2021 as more jobs shifted to part-time arrangements given capacity restrictions.

The total employment in April 2021 remained above pre-Covid-19 levels. While the economy lost 8.7 million jobs at the height of the quarantines last April 2020, the economy generated 9.4 million jobs or a net of 0.7 million jobs between April 2020 to April 2021.

“Improving the rate of job creation will be crucial in our recovery effort this year,” the group said.

By broad industry group, the services sector continued to account for the largest share of employed persons with 57.4 percent. The agriculture and the industry sectors accounted for 24.4 percent and 18.2 percent of the employed persons, respectively.

The economic team promised to fast-track the inoculation program of the government to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and to save lives and jobs.

“With 27.7 million vaccine doses arriving from May to July 2021, we are confident that we can bring more Filipinos safely to work, inoculate 70 million Filipinos or the entire adult population by the end of the year, and recover strongly in the next two years,” the team said. (KOC)

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