Philippine unemployment rate

IN CHARTS: Filipinos struggling to work full-time during pandemic

Ralf Rivas
IN CHARTS: Filipinos struggling to work full-time during pandemic

WORKERS. Construction workers looking over a site in Cebu City in 2018.

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There are now more people with work compared to a year ago. But they are either looking for more hours of work or can't commit to a 40-hour schedule.

MANILA, Philippines – As prices of goods soar, Filipinos are either struggling to work full-time or can’t find work at all.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Thursday, July 7, reported that the unemployment rate went up to 6% in May, slightly higher than the 5.7% recorded in April. The latest figure is equivalent to 2.93 million jobless Filipinos, around 165,000 more compared to April.

The number of people who have work but are either looking for more work or are working less than 40 hours also increased. The underemployment rate rose to 14.5% in May from 14% in April. This meant 269,000 more underemployed persons.

Comparing May 2022 to May 2021, there have been 1.2 million additional underemployed Filipinos.

Unemployment has eased as the economy gradually opened up, but underemployment has remained elevated.

Of the underemployed, a third cited that they are working for less than 40 hours a week due to variable working hours.

Some companies have resorted to shortening operating hours just to stay open during the pandemic. (READ: Global jobs recovery delayed by pandemic uncertainty and Omicron, ILO says)

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The National Economic and Development Authority earlier said some parents cannot work full-time during the pandemic, as they have to take care of their children who are taking online classes. NEDA has repeatedly called for the resumption of face-to-face classes due to this.

“Over the medium term, the government will focus on creating more jobs, quality jobs, and green jobs through productivity-enhancing investments,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

As for those who are working over 40 hours per week, PSA data showed that they are doing it for more cash, not out of passion for the job.

While the quality of jobs remains an issue, there are now more people with work compared to a year ago.

The number of employed individuals increased by 1.4 million in May 2022 from May 2021, bringing total employment to 46.1 million. Employment gains were recorded in the services sector. Net employment creation is now 3.5 million above pre-pandemic levels. 

From April to May, construction posted the highest gains in employment at 1.1 million. Public administration and defense jobs posted the sharpest losses at 730,000. – Rappler.com

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Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.