Philippine unemployment rate

Unemployment down to 10% in July 2020, says Philippine gov’t

Ralf Rivas

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Unemployment down to 10% in July 2020, says Philippine gov’t

Workers commuting on bicycles pass by augmentation buses for train passengers near a train station in Manila on June 1, 2020. - Hordes of cars and workers poured into the Philippine capital on June 1 after its strict virus lockdown was eased despite a spike in new cases, but as the nation must revive its bruised economy. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP)


(UPDATED) The Philippines' unemployment rate manages to decline even as the coronavirus pandemic drags on, according to the government

Unemployment eased to 10% in July, equivalent to around 4.6 million jobless Filipinos, the Philippine Statistics Authority said on Thursday, September 3.

The latest figure is lower than the 17.7% last April, which is the highest unemployment rate on record.

The total number of unemployed persons went up by 2.2 million from July 2019, but still lower than the 7.3 million recorded in April 2020.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment was only at 5.3% in January, or 2.4 million people, and 5.1% in April 2019 or 2.3 million people.

Underemployment, or the number of people who have jobs but are looking for more to meet needs, also went down to 17.3% in July from the 18.9% in April.

The total number of underemployed persons in July 2020 stood at 7.1 million, which is 1.3 million more than the 5.8 million in July 2019. This is also higher than the recorded 6.4 million in April 2020.

The labor force participation rate among Filipinos 15 years old and above is at 61.9% or 45.9 million people. This is the proportion of the working-age population that is working or actively looking for work.

The National Capital Region recorded the highest unemployment rate at 15.8%, while the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) recorded the lowest at 3.8%.

For underemployment, Mimaropa posted the highest rate at 27.2%, while the BARMM posted the lowest at 9%.

The top 5 major sectors with the largest drop in employment were:

  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation
  • Accommodation and food service activities
  • Information and communication
  • Fishing and aquaculture
  • Professional, scientific, and technical activities

Meanwhile, the sectors which had the highest increase in employment were:

  • Mining and quarrying
  • Agriculture and forestry
  • Electricity, gas, steam, and air-conditioning supply
  • Human health and social work activities
  • Wholesale and retail trade
  • Construction

The Philippines is already in recession, following one of the strictest lockdowns in the world. (READ: How the pandemic is crushing company earnings)

The Philippines is currently Southeast Asia’s coronavirus hot spot with over 226,000 cases. –

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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.