2.93 million jobless Filipinos as of May

FILE PHOTO: A jobless Filipino applicant browses a newspaper for work vacancies as he queues up at a job fair in Manila.
FILE PHOTO: A job applicant browses a newspaper for work vacancies as he queues up at a job fair in Manila on September 16, 2010. The Philippines’ unemployment rate in May 2022 stands at 6.7%, 0.3% higher than in April 2022, which translates to more or less 2.93 million jobless Filipinos. (Photo: TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images)

The Philippines’ unemployment rate in May 2022 stands at 6.7%, 0.3% higher than in April 2022, which translates to more or less 2.93 million jobless Filipinos, according to a data released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Thursday (June 7).

According to the same data, the labor force population, or those 15 years old and above with or without work, rose from 48.39 million in April of the same year and 48.46 million in May last year to 49.01 million in May this year.

Although more Filipinos are now with jobs from April’s 45.63 million and 44.72 million last year to 46.08 million in May this year, the unemployment rate still rose as job creation is lagging behind the increasing number of those who are entering the labor market.

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate is at 14.5 percent in May, or some 6.67 million Filipinos employed wanted higher pay than the one they’re getting, or open to working longer hours. Many of the underemployed belong in manufacturing, fisheries and aquaculture, agriculture and forestry, wholesale and retail trade, and services and transport sectors.

Dennis Mapa, the National Statistician, said that although the unemployment rate is slightly higher in May, it is still way below the 2020 and 2021 levels where lockdowns are more strict that forced several businesses to close down.

“There’s improvement in the employment outlook,” Mapa said in a press briefing. He also said that election-related jobs such as web portal development, political organization and catering services significantly boosted employment in May.

Socio-economic planning agency National Economic and Development Authority said that service sectors such as tourism and business outlook improved in terms of employment gains as lockdowns became more and more lax. “This brings net employment creation to 3.5 million above pre-pandemic levels.”

Mapa said that employment in the food production sector lost 733,000 jobs, especially in areas growing bananas, rice, sugarcane and vegetables, the biggest drop in a month. PSA data also showed that the annual drop for jobs related to agriculture was at 766,000.

Albay Second District Rep. Joey Salceda is calling on the government to take an aggressive job creation plan, proposing to revive the National Broadband Network project, a controversial project under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, “so that Filipinos can find digital jobs from anywhere in the world.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments in politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. The views expressed are his own.

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