Adult joblessness hits record-high 45.5% in July 2020 – SWS poll

Adult joblessness in the Philippines surged to 45.5% of the labor force in July 2020, according to the results of a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey released on Sunday, August 16.

This is equivalent to 27.3 million unemployed Filipinos in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, which has plunged the Philippines into recession.

Adults who are jobless include those who voluntarily left their old jobs, are seeking jobs for the first time, or lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control, said the SWS.

Half of those who were unemployed at the time of the survey lost their job during the pandemic, while the other half lost their job before the crisis.

The jump in adult joblessness in July 2020 is a 28-point increase from 17.5% in December 2019, when 7.9 million Filipinos were unemployed.

It is also a new record high since the 34.4% in March 2012, said the SWS.

Increases throughout

Surging joblessness was recorded across areas, sexes, and age groups. Below are the July 2020 figures compared to survey numbers from December 2019, which are in parentheses.


  • Metro Manila - 43.5% (from 15%)
  • Balance Luzon - 45.2% (from 17.3%)
  • Visayas - 46.6% (from 15.7%)
  • Mindanao - 46.5% (from 20.7%)

Previous records were surpassed in all 4 areas – the 42% in February 2009 for Metro Manila, 39% in March 2012 for Balance Luzon, 31% in September 2007 for the Visayas, and 34% in March 2012 for Mindanao.


  • Women - 55.8% (from 30.8%)
  • Men - 35.8% (from 8.3%)

"Adult joblessness has been consistently higher among women than among men, with the women-men joblessness gap ranging from 10 to as high as 26 points since December 2011," the SWS said.

Age groups

  • 18- to 24-year-olds - 63.4% (from 31.8%)
  • 25- to 34-year-olds - 48.8% (from 20.7%)
  • 35- to 44-year-olds - 41.9% (from 19.2%)
  • 45 years old and above - 39.7% (from 11.8%)

"As in past surveys, the 18- to 24-year-olds are the most jobless compared to other age groups," the SWS said.

The poll was conducted among 1,555 adult Filipinos nationwide from July 3 to 6, through mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing. It had sampling error margins of ±2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, ±5 for Balance Luzon, ±5% for the Visayas, and ±5% for Mindanao.

The Philippine Statistics Authority earlier said the country's unemployment rate hit a record-high 17.7% in April 2020. –