AUGUST 3, 2021

The labor force survey results for June 2021 show the limits of job creation without major relaxations in quarantine restrictions, especially in the National Capital Region. With the emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant, the government has prioritized arresting the spread of this more contagious virus through more proactive quarantines in high-risk areas and an accelerated vaccination program. These actions are crucial in ensuring that economic gains in recent months will resume once we have addressed this current threat.

Labor force survey results

As reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority, the unemployment rate in June 2021 remained at 7.7 percent, similar to the previous month. The labor force participation rate (LFPR), however, increased from 64.6 percent in May to 65.0 percent in June. Together, these led to a net job creation of 0.4 million between May and June 2021. Since January 2020, net job creation has totalled 2.5 million, indicating that the economy has exceeded the pre-pandemic employment level after losing 8.7 million jobs during the height of the quarantines in April 2020.

Meanwhile, underemployment increased to 14.2 percent in June following the decades-low underemployment rate of 12.3 percent in May. Despite the increase, the underemployment rate is still much lower than the figures recorded in the first four months of 2021. Lower underemployment rates in recent months point to improving job quality as restrictions in the economy were relaxed.

Outlook and recommendations

With the emergence of the COVID-19 Delta variant, the government imposed stricter community quarantine classifications for August 6 to 20, 2021 to arrest the possible spread of the new variant. In particular, Metro Manila is placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to reduce virus transmission as more vaccine doses are administered.

Although the ECQ imposition may temporarily impact employment outcomes in August 2021, the government is determined to maximize this period to accelerate vaccination in high-risk areas in order to safely resume economic activities and restore jobs.

As of August 1, 2021, a total of 20.9 million doses have been administered, consisting of 11.7 million and 9.1 million for the first and second doses, respectively.

In July 2021, the government achieved its fastest vaccination drive so far, administering around 10 million doses. Towards the end of July, the country reported its highest number of jabs in one day at 659,029. The average daily doses administered in the last seven days reached 523,018.

With this rapid progress in the rate of inoculation and the expected arrival of 132.7 million doses in the next six months, we are confident that we can vaccinate 70 million Filipinos or the entire adult population by the end of 2021.

We call on everyone to strictly adhere to public health protocols and cooperate with the government’s Prevent, Detect, Isolate, Treat, and Reintegrate (PDITR) strategy. We also encourage establishments to continue innovating to ensure business and public service continuity, thereby enabling more people to work and earn income. These efforts will also be complemented by the National Employment Recovery Strategy to generate and preserve jobs while supporting existing and emerging businesses.

We are one with the Filipino workers in striving to regain our economic foothold. We urge everyone to sign up with their local government units to secure their vaccination slots. The safety of all Filipinos and the full reopening of the economy strongly depend on everyone’s cooperation.

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