CAGAYAN DE ORO, Philippines – Unemployment in Northern Mindanao hit a 15-year high of 11.1% in April because of stalled business operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
PSA Region 10 director Ruben Abaro Jr said that based on PSA data, there are 236,000 unemployed workers in the region as of April – more than twice as much as the number of jobless people in the region in April 2019, when the unemployment rate stood at 5%.
“In terms of magnitude, the total number of unemployed individuals as of April 2020 reached 236,000, higher than the recorded unemployed persons in April 2019 at 121,000,” he said.
“In other words, there are 115,000 more individuals who are unemployed as of April 2020 as compared to the same period in the previous year which reflects the impact of COVID-19 economic shutdown on the labor market,” Abaro added.
Abaro said the Northern Mindanao unemployment rate in January 2020, or before the coronavirus outbreak in the country, was only at 3.2%.
Northern Mindanao’s unemployment rate as of April is lower than the national average of unemployment rate at 17.7%, Abaro said. (READ: PH unemployment at all-time high with 7.3 million jobless in April)
Meanwhile, the region’s employment rate dropped to 88.9% in April 2020 from 96.8% in January 2020, the PSA said.
“This translates to a decrease in the employed persons by around 400,000, that is, from 2.3 million employed persons in April 2019 to 1.9 million persons in April 2020,” Abaro explained.
The regional chapter of the Association of Labor Unions- Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP) said that the government must fast track its economic stimulus program to help workers and businesses. (READ: Business groups press Duterte for ‘more substantial’ economic plan vs virus)
“The government must act on this fast (economic stimulus) that is aimed to help create work or help our workers that lost their jobs because of the pandemic,” said Nicanor Borja, ALU-TUCP director for Region 10.
Borja said that any delay in the economic stimulus package will increase the unemployment rate as businesses would not be able to survive the crisis.
“Immediate economic release to help our workers who lost their jobs including companies that have shut down, they should provide actions so they can continue with their business that will also help our workers, there will be no jobs if there is no businesses, that is why we are asking out government to fast track the economic stimulus to solve our problems,” Borja said.
Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Region 10 director, said that Northern Mindanao suffered economic losses amounting to P17.86 billion for the period March 15 to May 31.
Region 10 is composed of 5 province and 9 cities. The provinces are Bukidnon, Camiguin, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, and Misamis Oriental; while the cities are cities: Cagayan de Oro, El Salvador, Gingoog, Malaybalay, Valencia, Oroquieta, Ozamiz, Tangub and Iligan.
It has a population of 4.6 million based on the 2015 census.