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  • Writer's pictureMelo Acuna

Labor market recovers, says NEDA chief

NEDA says Philippine labor market shows recovery

MANILA – The government’s National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) today said the Philippine labor market in October this year showed “further signs” of recovery due to the easing of economic activity and mobility with struct compliance with safety and health protocols.

In a statement, NEDA cited the Philippine Statistics Authority’s latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) which showed the country’s unemployment rate improved to 8.7 percent in October from 10.0 percent in July and 17.6 percent in April.

“This translated to 0.8 million less unemployed workers in this round compared with July 2020. However, lower labor force participation more than offset this, resulting in a net employment reduction of 1.5 million from July to October,” the statement said.

“this improvement in the unemployment rate was driven by the reopening of the economy and it could have been lower if the economy were opened further, coupled with the provision of safe and sufficient public transport. On the other hand, the country was also hit by a succession of four typhoons in October alongside the monsoon and La Niña, resulting in significant employment loss in agriculture,” said Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendric T. Chua.

It will be recalled during the second half of October, the country was hit by typhoons Nika, Ofel, Pepito and Quinta which contributed to the reduction of agriculture employment by 1.1 million, or about 70 percent of the 1.5 million jobs lost between July and October 2020. Province-based workers also had difficulty in returning to work due to inter-province transport restrictions and contributed to the 0.5 million loss in the industry sector.

The country’s services sector recorded a 0.3 gain in employment compared with July 2020 due to increased operational capacity and further relaxation of quarantine restrictions.

They also attributed the decline in employment to lower labor force participation and could be attributed to higher remittances and the opening of school with parents shifting from work to accompanying younger children in blended learning from home.

The underemployment rate improved to 14.4 percent in October 2020 from 17.3 percent in April and 18.9 percent in April 2020.

Secretary Chua said a decrease in underemployment means the quality of jobs is improving.

“This proximity ti normalcy means that the informal sector is performing and the impact on poverty may be less severe that initially estimated,” he added.

He sounded optimistic with the approval of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill by the Philippine Senate which may provide the necessary relief for MSMEs which consist of 99 percent of firms in the Philippines and 60 percent of working Filipinos.

“The swift passage and implementation of CREATE, together with the 2021 General Appropriations Act, the Financial Institutions Strategic Transfer (FIST) Act, and the Government Financial Institutions Unified Initiative to Distressed Enterprises for Economic Recovery (GUIDE) Act will all contribute to rebuilding the economy and helping Filipinos and businesses get back on their feet,” added the NEDA chief. (Melo M. Acuña)

Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendric T. Chua. (NEDA File photo)

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