Joblessness among Filipino adults rose to a 12-year high in July, with 27.3 million unemployed during a pandemic, according to the latest Social Weather Stations ( SWS) survey. The survey, conducted from 3 to 6 July, found that 45.5% of the 1,555 respondents were unemployed. This was 28 points higher than 17.5 percent or an estimated 7.9 million unemployed Filipinos in December 2019.
While Malacañang is not happy that millions of Filipinos have lost their employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Harry Roque said it could have been worse. Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., President of the Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop), said that the numbers could get worse as a result of the re-imposition of the modified enhanced community quarantine.
The latest unemployment rate was also the highest since March 2012, when joblessness was recorded at 34.4. Joblessness figures have also been recording high in all regions. Joblessness was the highest in the Visayas at 46.6 percent in July, up from 15.7 percent in December, surpassing the previous record by 31 percent in July.
Within Metro Manila, Luzon rose to 45.2 percent from 17.3 percent in December, surpassing the previous high of 39 percent in March 2012. In Metro Manila, it rose to 43.5 percent from 15 percent in December, smashing the previous high of 42 percent in February 2009. In Mindanao, the figure rose to 46.5 percent from 20.7 percent in December.
The study, which was conducted using cell phones and computer-assisted voice interviews, had an error margin of 2 percent or less. According to a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority ( PSA) on 5 June, 7.3 million people were unemployed in April, of which 4.9 million lost their jobs. This has meant that joblessness has risen to its highest rate at 17.7%.
However, according to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), only close to 100,000 workers were laid off in the first half of the year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than a third of whom lost their jobs in June alone. Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III clarified that Dole’s job loss estimates were based on business reports and the PSA’s were omitted from the study.
In the meantime, there are 83,339 businesses that have temporarily closed down, a rise of 204 from last week. More than two million employees are affected by these temporary closures.
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