OVER a million jobs have been created in the economy since the pandemic began, according to data released by the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda).
In a televised Palace briefing on Thursday, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said the net employment creation of the country reached 1.7 million between January 2020 and August 2021.
This, despite the government reporting 3.88 million unemployed Filipinos in August. This was 810,000 higher than the 3.07 million posted in July 2021 and 120,000 more than the 3.76 million in June 2021 (See: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2021/09/30/800k-filipinos-join-ranks-of-jobless-in-august-8-1-unemployment-highest-since-april/).
“So far, we saw that our net employment creation since January 2020 up to August 2021, [was at] positive 1.7 million jobs [representing jobs that we were able to bring back to the economy],” Chua said in his televised presentation.
Based on Chua’s estimates a total of 2.6 million net jobs were created between July 2021 and August 2021, despite Metro Manila being placed under ECQ. Between June and July, 3.4 million jobs were lost.
The net jobs created between July and August was the highest figure on net jobs created since the 2.2 million jobs reached between February and March this year.
Chua said job creation is highly correlated with the level of quarantine and lately, the heightened risk due to the Delta variant.
Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said this accounts for the need to ensure that businesses continue operating even if they are sited in areas under Alert Level 4 or even 5.
Lopez said business closures automatically lead to job losses. But the latest employment numbers show that the economy may already be on the path to recovery, despite the challenges.
“Yes there are sectors recovering but some are highly sensitive to the community quarantine classification especially if ECQ, MECQ or levels 5 or 4 are declared. These can lead to job losses as seen in the recent Labor Force Survey,” Lopez told reporters through Viber.
Based on preliminary results of the Labor Force Survey for August, the unemployment rate was at 8.1 percent, the highest since the 8.7 percent posted in April 2021.
Underemployed Filipinos decreased by 2.21 million to 6.48 million in August 2021 from 8.69 million in July 2021. However, this was still higher by 0.07 million from the 6.41 million posted in June 2021.
PSA put underemployment rate in August at 14.7 percent, slower than the 20.9 percent posted in July 2021. However, it was higher than the 14.2 percent posted in June 2021.
More Filipinos participated in the Labor Force in August. PSA said the Philippine labor force increased by 3.38 million to 48.12 million in August from 44.74 million in July 2021.
This translated to a Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) of 63.6 percent in August, higher than the 59.8 percent in July 2021.
However, compared to June, the labor force shrank by 0.72 million in August compared to the 48.84 million in June. The LFPR two months before was also higher at 65 percent.
Meanwhile, PSA said the services sector consistently dominated the employment hub, or 56 percent of the total employed persons in August 2021. The agriculture and industry sectors contributed 25.1 percent and 18.9 percent, respectively.
The top five industries with the largest increase were Agriculture and Forestry with an addition of 1.78 million jobs to 9.85 million in August from 8.07 million in July.
PSA data showed other sectors posting highest increase in employment as: wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles which generated an additional 992,000 jobs, amid ECQ; manufacturing, 169,000; other service activities, 148,000; and fishing and aquaculture, 128,000.
“When the weather improved, the jobs that were lost in agriculture returned and helped bring down the underemployment rate to 14.7 percent,” Chua said.
Industries that lost the most jobs in August were led by education, with 238,000 jobs lost. This brought down employment in the sector to 1.18 million in August from 1.42 million in July 2021.
This was followed by Administrative and support service activities with 183,000 jobs lost; Professional, scientific and technical activities, 110,000; construction, 85,000; and Human health and social work activities, 83,000.
“The PSA field offices are seeing…potential teachers are not yet able to find work, including tutors for online classes. We are seeing a pattern which showed there is an increase (in employment) toward the middle of the school year and gradually decline when the school year ends or
begins,” National Statistician Claire Dennis S. Mapa explained in a briefing on Thursday.