Jobless Filipinos soar to 4.14M in April amid lockdowns

·Contributor
·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Job seekers attend a job fair in Manila March 26, 2014. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
FILE PHOTO: Job seekers attend a job fair in Manila March 26, 2014. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

More Filipinos lost their jobs in April following the enforcement of stricter quarantine measures caused by an unexpected surge of COVID-19 cases, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on June 8.

According to National Statistician Dennis Mapa, the country’s national unemployment rate fell to 8.7%, which is worse than March's 7.1%. Roughly 4.14 million Filipinos went out of work, significantly higher than 3.44 million from the month prior.

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) in April stood at 63.2%, equivalent to 47.41 million who are either employed or actively seeking employment. This is higher than the LFPR recorded from the same month in 2020 at 55.7% but lower than the LFPR in March at 65%.

These recent figures, however, are still considerably less severe than the record high rate of 17.6% or 7.23 million jobless in April 2020, which was recorded a month into the first round of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for Metro Manila and mainland Luzon.

The country’s capital, Metro Manila, logged the highest unemployment rate for the month at 14.4%, translating to 875,000 jobless Filipinos compared to the 506,000 unemployed individuals from earlier in January. The NCR Plus bubble, which included Metro Manila and its nearby provinces, was placed under ECQ from March 29 until April 11 due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. The area later on shifted to the more relaxed modified ECQ from April 12 to 30.

Economic managers who had predicted a "temporary reversal" of employment gains in April due to more stringent quarantine restrictions claimed the impact would be "less severe" this year compared to 2020 because more industries were allowed to operate amid the lockdowns.

Ana Catalina Paje is a development journalist passionate about grassroots communication geared towards genuine social change. The views expressed are her own.

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