The number of unemployed Filipinos increased slightly in May to 2.93 million, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported Thursday.
At a press briefing, National Statistician and PSA chief Claire Dennis Mapa reported that unemployment rate during the month stood at 6%, a slight uptick compared to the pandemic low of 5.7% in April.
In terms of actual numbers, unemployed adults aged 15 and above in May was higher than the 2.76 million jobless individuals recorded in April.
If compared to May 2021, the unemployed persons declined by around 810,000, when jobless adults stood at 3.74 million in the same month last year.
The top five sub-sectors in terms of the level of month-on-month drop in employment from April to May were the following:
- Agriculture and forestry (-733,000)
- Public administration and defense; compulsory social security (-159,000)
- Arts, entertainment and recreation (-109,000)
- Education (-95,000)
- Professional, scientific, and technical activities (-51,000)
Meanwhile, employed individuals grew to 46.08 million from 45.63 million in April, translating to an employment rate of 94% — a slight decline from 94.3% in the prior month.
This is due to more Filipinos joining the labor force at 49.01 million from 48.39 million in April.
Underemployment rate — the percentage of persons with jobs or livelihoods but expressed desire to have additional hours of work or to have an additional job — increased to 14.5% to 6.67 million.
In a separate statement, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said increasing the employability of the current and future workforce will translate to more job creation and better employment outcomes in the medium term.
NEDA chief Arsenio Balisacan said “the immediate challenge is the full reopening of the economy. Over the medium term, the government will focus on creating more jobs, quality jobs, and green jobs through productivity-enhancing investments.”
Balisacan said that “productivity-enhancing investments” will include strategies to increase employability such as improved quality of education, provision of opportunities for life-long learning, in-demand skills development, options to obtain micro-credentials, enhanced job facilitation programs and strengthened linkages between industry, business and training institutions for a more efficient labor market.
The NEDA chief also cited the ease in metrics of the Department of Health (DOH) in determining the alert level system as critical in the economy's reopening.
He, likewise, welcomed the move to immediately and safely resume face-to-face classes to increase domestic activities and prevent future productivity loss. He added that a catch-up plan is needed to regain the two years of learning lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A learning catch-up plan is crucial. This will help secure better opportunities for future generations and ensure that our demographic dividend will not be wasted,” Balisacan said. —KBK, GMA News