More Pinoys Looking For Extra Income As Job Quality Dips

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MANILA, Philippines – More Filipinos are looking for additional work in June amid the deterioration in the quality of available jobs, although the level of unemployment remained unchanged during the month.

The work situation in the Philippines has leveled off as the latest report from the Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.7 percent in June.

This represents 3.76 million unemployed Filipinos in the labor force. An additional 30,000 Filipinos joined the unemployed out of the 3.73 million in May.

The stagnant unemployment rate came even as restrictions were lowered in June, showing that reopening the economy does not necessarily solve the country’s labor market problems.

More than unemployment, however, is the rate of underemployment or the proportion of workers looking for more hours to work.

Underemployment reached 14.2% or 6.41 million, compared to 12.3% or 5.49 million in May. Almost a million additional Filipinos failed to get enough hours of work to earn enough income.

Leonardo Lanzona, labor economist and professor at Ateneo de Manila University, said the increase in underemployment clearly shows that the jobs created during the period are poorly paid and of poor quality.

“Unemployment may have remained stable, but people are taking jobs that they would not normally take. As the underemployment figures show, these are not enough to keep them afloat, ”Lanzona told STAR.

Sadly, Lanzona stressed that such a fragile situation in the labor market will only worsen with the next two-week lockdown starting on Friday.

“If income and health security, through cash transfers and health programs, that is, paid time off, are not granted, the lockdown may prove ineffective as people will continue to look for work despite the increased risks, ”Lanzona said.

PSA chief Dennis Mapa said each lockdown episode would have a real impact on employment numbers in the country.

“If we look at our data from last year and the April ECQ (reinforced community quarantine), unemployment rates are really increasing. That’s already the wait, ”Mapa said.

In a joint statement, the country’s economic officials said the latest employment data showed the limits to job creation without major easing of quarantine restrictions, especially in metro Manila where the country is located. essential for economic activities.

“Although the imposition of the ECQ may temporarily impact employment outcomes in August, the government is determined to maximize this period to speed up vaccination in high-risk areas in order to safely resume economic activities and restore jobs, ”said the economic team.

With the government’s continued reliance on lockdown measures to prevent an increase in COVID-19 cases, Lazona doesn’t really expect any significant improvements in the labor market for the remaining months of the year.

“The government’s current mindset is to maintain a balanced budget. For this reason, we cannot expect anything more than what they are doing now, ”said Lanzona.

“The times call for more spending. Aggressive fiscal policies are needed. In the long run, we will all be dead, ”he said.

In addition, the participation rate of the country’s labor force, or those aged 15 and over, improved to 65 percent of the total working-age population, from 64.6 percent.

This equates to approximately 48.84 million economically active Filipinos, whether employed or looking for work.

In turn, 360,000 additional jobs were created between May and June, but the employment rate stabilized at 92.3%.

President Duterte’s economic team encouraged establishments to continue innovating to ensure the continuity of business and public service, thus enabling more people to work and earn a living.


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