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DOLE welcomes August Labor Force Survey results despite higher jobless rate

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The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Friday welcomed the results of the August 2021 Labor Force Survey (LFS) despite the higher unemployment rate recorded as labor force participation rate increased indicating renewed confidence among workers.

“With the imposition of stricter quarantine in the NCR (National Capital Region) and surrounding regions in August, the upward movement of unemployment figures was expected,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement.

Results of the latest LFS conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the number of jobless adult Filipinos rose to 3.88 million in August, reflecting an unemployment rate of 8.1% from 3.07 million jobless in July.

The higher unemployment figure was mostly blamed on the imposition of the strictest enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from August 6 to 20 in NCR.

“But despite this, the August Labor Force survey showed that labor force participation bounced back for an increase of 3.375 million,” Bello said.

“This indicates jobseekers’ confidence to enter the labor market and become economically active,” he added.

The labor force participation rate — the number of adults who are actively looking for work — grew to 63.6% higher than the 59.8% in July.

The higher month-on-month labor force participation rate resulted in the increase of employed individuals to 44.23 million from 41.7 million in the previous month.

Bello welcomed the increase in employed persons by more than 2.5 million month-on-month.

“The decline in underemployment rate with 14.7% or 6.482 million underemployed workers in August 2021 from 20.9% or 8.692 million in July 2021 is another welcome development,” he said.

The underemployment rate—the proportion of employed persons wanting additional work—dropped to 14.7%, the third lowest recorded this year along with 12.3% in May and 14.2% in June.

“We remain positive that the worst for the labor market has already been reached last year when unemployment peaked at 17.6% based on the April 2020 survey. Despite a very strict lockdown this year, the current unemployment rate did not match the numbers last year,” Bello said.

“Vaccination has been key to minimize what would have been an adverse effect of this lockdown. As we adjust and learn to live with the virus, we expect our labor market and the economy, in general, to be more resilient and prepared for other shocks that this pandemic may bring,” he added.

The DOLE, the Labor chief said, continues to join other government agencies in supporting businesses through available incentives, providing a platform for jobseekers to facilitate their access to employment, and supporting our workers through upskilling and retooling initiatives.

“We reiterate our call to all workers and businesses to continue the strict implementation of the minimum public health standards (MPHS) and occupational safety and health policies. Let us continue to be vigilant and avoid complacency,” Bello said.—AOL, GMA News

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