Uemployment rate drops to 6.9%; workers give up jobs due to Covid-19

·3 min read

THE unemployment rate in the Philippines has dropped to 6.9 percent in July from 7.7 percent in June 2021, the lowest since the pandemic broke in 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2021.

About 3.1 million Filipinos were jobless in July, down by 0.7 million from the 3.8 million reported in June 2021. The figure was also lower by 1.5 million from the 4.6 million jobless Filipinos reported in July last year.

A significant improvement was seen in the National Capital Region (NCR), according to the joint statement of the Duterte Administration’s economic managers, where the unemployment rate dropped from 14.4 percent in April 2021 to nine percent in July 2021 as the quarantine restrictions were eased from modified enhanced community quarantine to variations of the general community quarantine from May 15 to July 31.

Moreover, in areas outside NCR, the unemployment rate also improved from 7.9 percent to 6.5 percent in the same period.

Cautious workers

However, the economic team said, despite the improved unemployment rate, the reduction in the labor force participation rate from 65 percent to 59.8 percent resulted in a net job loss of 3.4 million from June to July, bringing total employment to 0.8 million below pre-pandemic level.

“Majority of those who left the labor force cited concerns around Covid-19 as the reason for not working at this time,” the economic team said.

Moreover, around 1.8 million of the month-on-month job loss came from the vulnerable agriculture sector, as Typhoon Fabian hit the country around mid-July and destroyed some P700 million worth of output, and affected multiple regions from Northern Luzon down to Western Visayas.

The decrease in output is also reflected in the faster vegetable inflation of 15.7 percent in August 2021 from five percent in the previous month. Moreover, the African swine fever continues to affect hog raisers as quarter-on-quarter hog production fell to 284,000 metric tons (MT), below the Department of Agriculture’s projection of 299,000 MT for the second quarter.

Granular lockdown

With the recent spike in infections due to the spread of the more contagious Delta variant, the economic team said, the government will continue to adjust its risk management strategy and intensify its health response to save lives and protect the well-being of all Filipinos.

The government will impose granular lockdowns starting Wednesday, Sept. 8 while expediting the rollout of the vaccination program.

“With 142 million vaccines expected to arrive in the remaining months of 2021, the vaccination program will be further accelerated in order to cover 70 million Filipinos or the entire adult population by the end of the year. As of Sept. 5, 20.8 million and 15 million Filipinos have received their first and second doses, respectively. This protects them against severe and critical cases,” the team said.

“We reiterate our call for everyone to remain on guard at all times, and to strictly adhere to minimum public health standards. We also encourage both the private sector and the government to innovate and ensure continued business operations and public service delivery,” the team added. (KOC with PR)

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