The country needs a safe and full reopening of the economy to return to a high-growth path and reinvigorate job creation, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.
As reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) today, the country’s unemployment rate in June 2022 was recorded at 6.0 percent, a significant decline from the 7.7 percent unemployment rate of the same period last year.
Over 1.5 million Filipinos joined the labor force in June 2022 from the same month in 2021, bringing total employment to 46.6 million.
Employment also grew across all sectors, particularly in the industry, agriculture, and services sectors amidst the easing of restrictions.
“In the near term, we will prioritize the immediate issues of rising inflation, the vulnerability of certain groups to shocks, and the pandemic-induced scarring to ensure that growth and employment gains are sustained,” NEDA Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said.
He added that the reopening of the economy, including the resumption of face-to-face schooling, will boost domestic activities and insulate the economy against external headwinds.
The June 2022 round of PSA’s Labor Force Survey showed that the country’s underemployment rate—the proportion of those already employed but still wanting more work—dropped further to 12.6 percent from 14.2 percent in June 2021.
“The latest data show a significant increase in the number of workers employed on a full-time basis. While this is a good indication of the improving quality of work in our country, the government should incessantly boost its efforts towards providing an environment conducive to the creation of more and better employment opportunities,” Balisacan said.
In terms of hours of work, full-time employment, or those who worked for more than 40 hours a week, increased substantially by 11.0 percent or an additional 3.0 million individuals, while part-time workers declined by 8.0 percent or 1.4 million fewer individuals compared to June 2021. Correspondingly, the mean hours of work improved from 39.0 in June 2021 to 40.3 in June 2022.
The NEDA Secretary further said that the immediate and safe resumption of face-to-face classes is anticipated not only to increase domestic activities but also to prevent future productivity losses.
With this, the Department of Health launched its new campaign, “PinasLakas,” which aims to scale up the vaccination of booster doses nationwide. To increase its accessibility, vaccination stations are placed in high-traffic areas such as terminals, schools, malls, plazas, and places of worship.
“As we continue to fully reopen the economy, we must remain vigilant and adhere to minimum health standards to ensure that Filipinos remain healthy and productive. We will also strengthen our health system to ensure that it is able to effectively and quickly respond to health situations as and where needed,” Balisacan said.
“Adjusting to the ‘new normal’ and gradually shifting to an endemic mindset is critical in generating more employment and strengthening our domestic economy,” he added.