FEWER Filipinos were jobless in July 2021, with the unemployment rate declining to 6.9 percent, the lowest since April 2020, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced on Tuesday, September 7, 2021.
The PSA said there were 3.1 million unemployed persons 15 years old and over in July 2021, lower by 1.5 million than the 4.6 million reported in July 2020 and by 0.7 million compared to the 3.8 million reported in June 2021.
On the other hand, there were 41.7 million employed persons in July 2021, lower by 3.4 million than the 45.1 million in June 2021 and 0.4 million more than the 41.3 million estimate for July 2020. The employment rate was 93.1 percent in July 2021, the highest since the pandemic started.
About one in five employed persons was underemployed. The PSA estimated the underemployed persons at 8.7 million in July 2021, or 20.9 percent of the 41.7 million employed individuals during the period. This is the highest underemployment rate since the pandemic in April 2020.
Visibly underemployed persons are those working less than 40 hours in a week but still express the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or to have an additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours. There were around 4.5 million, or 10.8 percent of the total employed persons, visibly underemployed Filipinos in July, the PSA said.
The invisibly underemployed, or those working at least 40 hours in a week but still want to have additional hours of work in their present job, have an additional job, or have a new job with longer working hours, was estimated at 4.2 million, or 10 percent of the total employed persons.
The labor force participation rate (LFPR) in July 2021, however, fell to 59.8 percent which is equivalent to 44.7 million Filipinos who were either employed or unemployed.
The July 2021 LFPR is the lowest reported rate this year compared to 60.5 percent in January 2021 and 63.2 percent in April 2021. It is also lower than the 61.9 percent in July 2020.
The government's economic managers, in a joint statement, said the drop in the unemployment rate was due to the more relaxed restrictions.
They observed that risk aversion and precautionary behavior led to a decrease in the labor force participation rate.
They said the government will continue to strengthen the healthcare capacity, accelerate the vaccination program, and impose more targeted granular lockdowns to enable more people to safely join the labor force and earn a living.
National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Director General Karl Kendrick Chua said they will also continue to pursue structural reforms such as the Philippine identification System.
Chua also called on legislators to swiftly pass the amendments to the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and Foreign Investment Act, to help the country attract more foreign investments and build better infrastructure.
"Together with the immediate interventions to address the Covid-19 pandemic, these reforms will help bring us back to pre-pandemic levels in end 2022 or early 2023 and restore our development trajectory," he said. (Marites Villamor-Ilano / SunStar Philippines)