May 6, 2022 — The Philippines tallied a new record-low unemployment rate since the start of the pandemic as the majority of the country shifted to alert level 1 in March 2022, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported today that the country’s unemployment rate fell from 6.4 percent in February to 5.8 percent in March 2022.

More Filipinos also joined the labor force amid increased mobility and the lower alert level. The country’s labor force participation rate continued its uptrend from 63.8 percent in February to 65.4 percent in March 2022, which is also the highest since the pandemic began.

Together, these translated to significant employment creation of 1.5 million between February and March. This brings the net employment to 4.4 million above the pre-pandemic level.

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate increased from 14.0 percent to 15.8 percent as more employed workers expressed desire to have additional work.

“The March labor force survey results reflect the gains from moving around 70 percent of the economy to alert level 1. As we continue to manage the risks, we reiterate our recommendation to shift the entire country to alert level 1 to generate more employment and strengthen the domestic economy against external shocks,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua.

According to Chua, the country has made significant progress in its recovery. As of May 1, 2022, 81 percent of the economy has shifted to alert level 1. However, the NEDA chief emphasized that the country cannot fully recover without fully resuming face-to-face classes.

“We have already seen a significant recovery in badly hit sectors such as tourism and leisure. We need to take advantage of our progress in vaccination and mobility to fully reopen all sectors, especially face-to-face schooling. This will help secure better opportunities for future generations,” Chua added.

Through the issuance of Executive Order No. 166, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte directed the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to “strengthen efforts towards the resumption of face-to-face learning.”

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