August unemployment rate increases to 8.1%

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SOME 3.88 million Filipinos have been jobless in August, according to the latest report by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021.

Unemployment stood at 8.1 percent for the month of August compared to 6.9 percent in July.

In a joint statement, the Duterte’s economic team said “the result is expected, given the stricter quarantine imposed to curb the spread of the Delta variant.”

The labor force participation increased to 63.6 percent from 59.8 percent as more people re-joined the labor force. While this is one factor for the increase in the unemployment rate, more people were able to find work, leading to an increase in the number of employed by 2.6 million in August compared to July.

This brings employment back up to 1.7 million above pre-pandemic levels. Moreover, the underemployment rate substantially decreased to 14.7 percent from 20.9 percent, given improving job conditions.

After shedding 1.8 million jobs in July, agriculture regained 1.9 million jobs and was the largest driver of the net employment gain. This was followed by wholesale and retail trade at one million jobs and manufacturing at 0.2 million jobs.

Meanwhile, education recorded the largest job loss at 0.2 million jobs.

“We expect this to gradually improve following the President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval to begin piloting face to face classes in low-risk areas,” the team said.

Strategy

The economic team reiterated that the safe reopening of the economy, limiting restrictions to granular lockdowns and accelerating the vaccination program are key to our recovery.

“Based on a seven-day moving average, the number of Covid-19 cases has gone down by around 15 percent since the peak on Sept. 11. This trend will support the further reopening of the economy and the use of granular lockdowns to allow the majority to return to work and earn a living,” the group said.

As of Sept. 27, 23.8 million Filipinos have received their first vaccine dose, while 20.6 million are already fully vaccinated.

In the National Capital Region, more than seven million residents or 72.4 percent of its target population are fully vaccinated. Other major cities, such as Iloilo, Angeles, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu have reached at least 50 percent of their target population.

“We will continue pursuing structural reforms to provide the country with stronger foundations. The economic team reiterates its support for the urgent passage of the economic liberalization bills, especially the amendments to the Public Service Act, which is still pending in the Senate. Opening up the telecommunications and transport sector by relaxing foreign ownership restrictions is crucial to improving internet, logistics and transportation services, while lowering costs for consumers. This will enable more sectors of society to better transition into the new normal and provide a better quality of life for all Filipinos,” the team said. (KOC)

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