Philippine unemployment rate

More Filipinos unemployed even with COVID-19 decline in December 2021

Ralf Rivas

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More Filipinos unemployed even with COVID-19 decline in December 2021

GOODS FOR SALE. The dry market in Balintawak, Quezon City, on April 16, 2021.


(1st UPDATE) The Philippines' unemployment rate inches up to 6.6%, translating to 3.27 million jobless Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines – Despite COVID-19 cases plunging to new lows, the country’s unemployment rate went up in December 2021.

The Philippine Statistics Authority on Thursday, February 10, reported that the unemployment rate inched up to 6.6%, translating to 3.27 million jobless Filipinos. This is slightly higher than the 6.5% recorded in November, when 3.16 million people were jobless.

The labor force participation rate increased to 65.1% or 49.55 million people, higher than the 64.2% or 48.64 million people in November. This refers to employed and unemployed Filipinos who are 15 years old and above.

Underemployment, the state where people with jobs seek more work, fell to 14.7%, equivalent to 6.81 million people. This is lower than the 16.7% in November, equivalent to 7.6 million people.

‘Strong economy’

Despite unemployment rising, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said the “economy is on the right track to recovery.”

Chua explained that the rise in unemployment was offset by the 800,000 who were able to find work as mobility restrictions were relaxed.

He noted that some 3.7 million new jobs were created, which is above pre-pandemic levels.

State economists expect figures for January 2022 to “slightly deteriorate” due to stricter mobility restrictions.

Job generation has been highly dependent on the COVID-19 alert levels being implemented. The quality of new jobs has also been questioned.

In December or before the spread of the Omicron variant, the Philippines recorded its lowest daily tally of COVID-19 cases.

The latest labor force figures come as the Philippines missed its inflation target for 2021, with prices rising at a pace of 4.5%. –

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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.