MANILA – The Philippine labor market showed significant improvements in November 2021 as the country recorded its lowest unemployment rate since April 2020, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that the country’s unemployment rate decreased from 7.4 percent in October to 6.5 percent in November, the lowest since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This result follows the imposition of alert level 2 in many parts of the country, which allowed more mobility and economic activity, while targeting restrictions in areas of highest risks.

In the same period, the labor force participation rate also increased from 62.6 percent to 64.2 percent.

The decrease in unemployment, combined with a higher labor force participation rate, led to a net employment creation of 1.7 million during the month. This translates to 2.9 million more Filipinos employed compared to the pre-pandemic level, signalling continuous economic recovery.

On the other hand, the underemployment rate marginally increased from 16.1 percent in October to 16.7 percent in November 2021.

“In November 2021, we saw how we can successfully manage COVID-19 risks and safely reopen the economy. Our policies to accelerate vaccination and to shift to the more targeted alert level system with granular lockdowns enabled us to significantly bring down COVID-19 cases and deaths while bringing back more employment,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua said.

In light of the imposition of alert level 3 in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Laguna, Rizal, Cavite, and other areas until January 15, the NEDA chief assured that the alert level system with granular lockdowns remains useful in managing transmission in the 3Cs: closed spaces, crowded places and close contact activities, while allowing the rest of the economy to operate safely.

“To contain the spread of the Omicron variant, the government is taking a proactive step back by shifting to alert level 3. Business establishments and public transport will remain operational at lower capacities to allow the people to safely earn a living while reducing the risks associated with the 3Cs,” Chua said.

The government will also continue accelerating the vaccination program amid the imposition of alert level 3.

On November 3, 2021, the vaccination program was expanded to children aged 12 to 17 years. Vaccinations will soon roll out for children aged 5 to 11 years following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval on December 23, 2021.

Moreover, on December 22, 2021, the Department of Health shortened the interval for the administration of booster shots to three months.

“We continue to urge the public to remain vigilant and strictly follow health protocols. We also encourage everyone eligible to get vaccinated and register for their booster shots. With the recent approval of the FDA of vaccinations for 5 to 11 year olds, and the shortened gap between the second dose and the booster, we expect a more accelerated roll out of our vaccination program to protect more people against the Omicron variant and sustain our recovery in 2022,” Chua said.

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