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Jobless Filipinos up 4.25M in September, highest since January —PSA

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The number of unemployed Filipinos rose to its highest level since the beginning of the year in September amid strict quarantine restrictions during the month, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday.

At a virtual press conference, National Statistician and PSA chief Claire Dennis Mapa said the number of unemployed adults - ages 15 and above - stood at 4.25 million reflecting an unemployment rate of 8.9%.

This is the highest unemployment rate since January 2021, Mapa said.

This is also higher than the 8.1% unemployment rate or 3.88 million jobless individuals recorded in August

“These results were expected as many parts of the country remained under stringent and blanket quarantines for most of the survey period. In particular, the modified enhanced community quarantine was extended in the National Capital Region (NCR) up to September 15,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said in a separate statement.

Meanwhile, the labor participation rate in September — the number of adults who are actively looking for work — decreased slightly to 63.3% from 63.6% in August.

This translates to 47.85 million of the country’s 15 years old and above population who are either employed or unemployed during the period, lower than the 48.12 million in August.

“The higher unemployment rate, combined with the lower labor force participation rate, led to a net employment loss of 642,000,” Chua said.


The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief said the biggest driver of the net employment loss during the period was agriculture, as Typhoon Jolina affected some 30,000 hectares of agricultural land across the regions of Central Luzon, Calabarzon, MIMAROPA, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Eastern Visayas, and contributed to the around 900,000 employment loss in the sector.

The decline came after the sector regained 1.9 million employment in August.

Employment rate, on the other hand, dropped to 91.1%  in September from 91.9% in August.

The number of employed persons with jobs or businesses stood at 43.59 million, lower than the 44.23 million seen in August.

Likewise, the underemployment rate rate — the proportion of employed persons wanting additional work — declined to 14.2% in September equivalent to 6.18 million underemployed out of 43.59 million employed persons.

This is slightly lower than the 14.7% or 6.48 million underemployed in August.

“Underemployment also continued to decrease from 14.7 percent in August to 14.2 percent in September, as more people find more productive work,” Chua said.

The country’s chief economist said that labor outcomes in October can be expected when the country sees the full impact of the implementation of granular lockdowns in the National Capital Region (NCR).

“This strategy has been effective in bringing down cases from its peak in early September,” he said.

“Overall, the economy has generated 1.1 million employment above the pre-pandemic level. This signals the Philippines’ continuing recovery. We look forward to the expansion of the alert level and granular lockdown system to the whole country to recover more jobs and livelihoods,” Chua said. — RSJ, GMA News

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