DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said the latest employment rate at 91.3 percent as recorded by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) indicates that the country is on the right track towards economic recovery.

The PSA’s Labor Force Survey (LFS) indicated that the employment rate in October 2020 was estimated at 91.3 percent, which is the highest rate since April 2020.

This translates to about 39.8 million employed Filipinos out of the 43.6 million who were part of the country’s labor force for that month.

“Despite the setbacks we encountered during this ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we are glad to see an increase in our country’s employment rate. This is a result of our efforts to gradually reopen the economy and further ease the community quarantine restrictions,” Lopez said.

“Considering that we were also hit hard by a succession of typhoons recently, we were still able to attain the highest employment rate since April of this year,” he added.

In terms of unemployment, the recorded rate in October 2020 went down to 8.7 percent coming from 17.6 percent in April this year.

The underemployment rate in October 2020 declined to 14.4 percent as compared to the rate in April of 18.9 percent.

Lopez explained that although this is a good sign of recovery, the country has not yet achieved its pre-Covid unemployment rate of five percent.

"We were expecting the unemployment rate to be back at a single-digit level. It would have been better, of course, if there were lesser restrictions and calamities that hit the country," he added.

Lopez attributed the liquid financial market as a possible factor that could further improve the country's employment rate.

He explained that the country's financial market could finance more investments or working capital and urged more commercial banks to accelerate their lending.

The country’s labor force participation rate (LFPR), meanwhile, was recorded lower at 58.7 percent in October 2020, from 61.9 percent in July 2020.

This is considered to be the second-lowest LFPR in the history of the Philippine labor market, following 55.7 percent in April 2020.

"To support our economy, we encourage our fellow Filipinos to prioritize buying locally made products in support of our local businesses, especially our micro, small and medium enterprises. This would help to save jobs, which would keep our people employed," said the trade chief.