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Unemployment soared record-high with 7.3M jobless last April —PSA

The number of jobless Filipinos hit record-high in April as the economic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 caused the displacement of millions of workers,  Philippine Statistics Authority’s latest Labor Force Survey shows.

“Unemployment rate rose to 17.7%, equivalent to 7.3 million unemployed Filipinos in the labor force in April 2020,” National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said Friday.

“This is a record high in the unemployment rate reflecting the effects of economic shutdown to the Philippine labor market, due to COVID-19,” Mapa said.

To stem the spread of COVID-19, the government enforced strict quarantine measures from March 17 to May 31. The lockdown forced several businesses to temporarily close, rendering millions of workers jobless.

Unemployment rate last April was way too high compared with the 5.3%  in the January 2020 survey, and 5.1% in April 2019.

“In terms of magnitude, the number of unemployed persons increased by five million from 2.3 million in April 2019 to 7.3 million in April 2020,” Mapa said.

All regions reported double-digit unemployment rates, according to Mapa.

Unemployment rate was highest at 29.8% in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARRM).

Region III or Central Luzon, and the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) followed BARMM with 27.3%, and 25.3%, respectively.

Meanwhile, the employment rate in April fell to 82.3% from 94.7% in January and 94.9% in April 2019.

“This translates to a decrease in employed people by eight million from 41.8 million in April 2019 to 33.8 million in April 2020,” Mapa said.

Largest drops in the percentage of employed people were observed in the Arts, Entertainment and Recreation; Electricity, Gas, Steam, and Air Conditioning supply; Information and Communication; Accommodation and Food Services activities; and Construction.

The rate of employed persons with jobs but not at work is reported at 38.4% or 13 million of the total employed.

“In April 2020, majority or 97% of the workers currently employed but not at work, expressed that their reason for not being at work was COVID-19 and community quarantine,” the PSA chief said.

Underemployment rate —the proportion of employed persons wanting additional work—increased to 18.9% from 13.4% in the same period last year.

This corresponds to about 6.4 million underemployed workers in April 2020, from 5.6 million in April 209 or an increase of about 781,000 underemployed workers.

On the other hand, the population of 15 years old and above was estimated at 73.7 million in April, from 71.8 million in the same period in 2019.

“Labor force participation rate among Filipinos 15 years and older is estimated at 55.6% in April 2020, the lowest in the history of Philippine labor market,” Mapa pointed out.

This rate translates to 41 million people who were part of the labor force in April, a decrease of about three million from 44 million year-on-year. —LBG, GMA News