Feeling the pinch? Unemployment rate up as the Philippines sees rapid rise in inflation

Amid reports of continuously rising prices in staple goods and the peso weakening against the dollar, some people are truly feeling the pinch, especially as the cost of living in Manila increases. Add to that the fact that the unemployment rate continued to rise in August, according to the latest figures by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA’s latest Labor Force Survey revealed that there were 2.68 million Filipinos who were unemployed in August, higher than the figure of 2.60 million in July, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said at a press briefing.

This brings the Philippines’ latest unemployment rate to 5.3 percent, higher than the 5.2 percent rate in July. This year’s unemployment rate is lower than last year, however, when 3.88 million were recorded jobless in August 2021.

While being unemployed at a time of high prices is bad enough, Filipinos are going to have to brace themselves even further during this economic downturn as inflation in the country has risen to 6.9 percent in September — the highest it has shot up in four years. The inflation rate was driven mainly by — you guessed it — expensive food and utility prices.

The latest figures seem to reinforce the idea that Manila is becoming an increasingly expensive city to live in — especially considering the meager average salaries its populace earns. A report by iPrice places the average monthly for Filipinos at PHP18,900 (US$322.48) a month.

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Despite the cost of goods getting more costly, the government has stood by the claim that a Filipino is not food-poor if they could afford to spend PHP18.62 (US$0.33) for each meal — a statement that many Filipinos felt was out of touch.