Philippine unemployment remains high

Unemployment in the Philippines remained high in July as the economy struggles amid the global financial turmoil, official data showed Thursday.

The National Statistics Office said the jobless rate in July was 7.1 percent compared with 7.2 percent in April, but higher than 7.0 percent in July 2010.

The underemployment rate, or people holding down part-time jobs, stood at 19.1 percent, down from 19.4 percent in April but still much higher than the 17.9 percent underemployment rate in the same period last year.

This means more than one in four working-age Filipinos are either unemployed or looking for more work.

The high unemployment and underemployment rates came after economic growth slowed to a disappointing 3.4 percent in the three months to June.

Government officials blamed the economic slowdown largely on overseas developments such as high oil prices, the March disasters in Japan, the poorly performing US and European economies, and unrest in the Middle East.

Unemployment data is released on a quarterly basis.

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