Philippine unemployment rate

More Filipinos find jobs in March 2022, but underemployment rises

Ralf Rivas

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More Filipinos find jobs in March 2022, but underemployment rises
The Philippines' unemployment rate declines to 5.8% in March, equivalent to 2.87 million Filipinos, but underemployment rises to 15.8% from 14% in February

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – More Filipinos found jobs in March 2022 as the economy reopened, but more people are also looking to work more hours, putting into question the quality of jobs available.

The Philippine Statistics Authority on Friday, May 6, reported that the country’s unemployment rate stood at 5.8% in March 2022, lower than the 6.4% recorded in February 2022 and 7.1% last March 2021.

About 2.87 million were unemployed in March 2022, down from 3.13 million in February 2022 and 3.4 million in March 2021.

However, underemployment – or the number of people with jobs who are looking for more hours of work to make ends meet – rose to 15.8% in March, equivalent to 7.42 million, from 14% or 6.38 million in the previous month.

Visible underemployment, which refers to the proportion of underemployed persons working less than 40 hours in a week, also rose to 10.2% in March from the 9.2% reported in February.

During the pandemic, companies implemented variable working hours and trimmed operational costs to recover losses incurred during lockdowns.

The employment figures come as inflation blows past the government target thanks to rising oil and electricity prices.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua reiterated calls to put the entire country under alert level 1 and reopen schools to fully realize the gains of reopening the economy.

Chua earlier said that without schools reopening, parents will still opt to stay at home to take care of their children, effectively making it harder for them to work full hours.

“The March labor force survey results reflect the gains from moving around 70% of the economy to alert level 1. As we continue to manage the risks, we reiterate our recommendation to shift the entire country to alert level 1 to generate more employment and strengthen the domestic economy against external shocks,” said Chua. –

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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.