By Mariedel Irish U. Catilogo, Researcher
The nation’s unemployment charge in March eased on a month-to-month foundation to its lowest because the begin of the coronavirus pandemic as a consequence of additional loosening of mobility restrictions, however job high quality worsened to a four-month excessive.
Preliminary outcomes of the Philippine Statistics Authority’s (PSA) March spherical of the Labor Drive Survey (LFS) on Friday confirmed the unemployment charge slowed to five.8% from 6.4% in February. This was additionally slower than the jobless charge of seven.1% a yr in the past.
The variety of the unemployed Filipinos was diminished by 251,000 to 2.875 million in March from 3.126 million in February. This was additionally decrease by greater than half 1,000,000 from 3.441 million in March final yr.
March’s jobless charge was the bottom because the 5.3% in January 2020, earlier than the federal government imposed strict mobility curbs in March to include the unfold of the coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19).
In the meantime, the scale of the labor pressure in March continued to climb month on month by 1.244 million to 49.850 million. It was bigger by 1.078 million from 48.772 million a yr in the past.
This translated to a labor pressure participation charge (LFPR) — the proportion of the full labor within the working-age inhabitants of 15 years previous and over — of 65.4% in March, greater than the earlier month’s 63.8% and final yr’s 65%.
It was the best LFPR because the 66.3% in October 2011.
Nonetheless, the standard of jobs deteriorated in March as extra employed Filipinos search for an extra job or longer working hours. The underemployment charge rose to fifteen.8% that month, a rise from 14% the earlier month, however nonetheless decrease than the 16.2% in the identical interval final yr.
This translated to 7.422 million underemployed Filipinos, a rise of 1.040 million from February’s 6.382 million and better by 86,000 from 7.335 million a yr in the past.
Underemployment charge in March was the best in 4 months or because the 16.7% recorded in November final yr.
The employment charge — the of the employed inhabitants to the full workforce — was 94.2% in March, choosing up from 93.6% within the earlier month and 92.9% in March 2021.
This was equal to roughly 46.975 million employed Filipinos, greater by 1.495 million from 45.480 million in February. About 1.643 million Filipinos grew to become employed from final yr’s 45.332 million.
“The March labor pressure survey outcomes replicate the positive aspects from shifting round 70% of the economic system to Alert Stage 1,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua mentioned in a press launch.
“As we proceed to handle the dangers, we reiterate our suggestion to shift all the nation to alert stage 1 to generate extra employment and strengthen the home economic system towards exterior shocks,” he added.
The Nationwide Financial and Improvement Authority estimated that round 81% of the economic system is now underneath probably the most lenient Alert Stage 1 that prompted companies to function at full capability.
Metro Manila and different areas has been underneath the Alert Stage 1 beginning March as COVID-19 instances continued to say no.
Safety Financial institution Corp. Chief Economist Robert Dan J. Roces attributed the development within the nation’s labor market to the comfort of quarantine restrictions.
“Newest outcomes jive with greater essential numbers, a sign of higher capital and shopper demand, and the PMI (buying managers’ index) quantity which was in enlargement and indicative of mobility enhancements and progress,” Mr. Roces mentioned in an e-mail.
The nation’s manufacturing Buying Managers’ Index (PMI) an index that signifies the nation’s circumstances within the manufacturing sector, improved to over three-year excessive of 53.2 in March. The 50 mark separates enlargement from contraction.
In a separate e-mail, Commerce Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) Spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay mentioned that “freer alert ranges, persevering with opening and extra mobility of services and products” resulted within the enchancment of the unemployment charge.
In the meantime, the upper underemployment print in March “could also be reflective of a labor market nonetheless in restoration mode, as companies step by step reopen,” Mr. Roces mentioned.
The Filipino employee labored on a mean of 40.6 hours in per week in March, barely decrease than the 40.8 in February however greater than 39.7 hours final yr.
By sector, the companies sector remained the biggest contributor to the workforce at 57.4%, decrease than the 58.2% share in February. This was adopted by agriculture at 25.2% from 23.9% and business at 17.4% from 17.9%.
Mr. Roces was optimistic concerning the labor market’s restoration this yr.
“The labor numbers at this level is a perform of the quarantine measures, and if looser curbs maintain, then a return to pre-pandemic labor figures is definite,” he added.
For his half, Mr. Tanjusay, spokesperson of the nation’s largest labor federation, expressed uncertainty on the restoration of the labor market.
“It is dependent upon the conduct and final result of the nationwide and native elections. If the democratic course of is adopted and outcomes are revered then it’s doable for present and new buyers are available in and create jobs,” he mentioned.
The nationwide elections will probably be held on Might 9.
The PSA began reporting month-to-month jobs information in 2021. Previous to that, the company revealed employment figures on a quarterly (January, April, July, and October) foundation.
The March spherical of LFS was performed from March 8 to twenty-eight.