MANILA, Philippines – The number of unemployed Filipinos fell to 3.7 million in 2021 from the 15-year high of 4.5 million unemployed the previous year, which was the peak of the most COVID-19 lockdowns. long and strictest.
However, unemployment remained higher than the 14-year low of 2.3 million in 2019 (before the pandemic), according to the latest preliminary annual labor market statistics from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for 2021.
The PSA said that last year, 47.7 million or 63.3 percent of Filipinos in the labor force participated in the labor market or actively sought employment. Last year’s participation rate was higher than 2019’s 61.3%.
Residents of northern Mindanao, particularly Bukidnon province, were the most active in the labor market, while central Luzon had the lowest labor force participation rate last year, according to PSA data.
In 2021, the labor force stood at 75.3 million – Filipinos aged 15 and over, with or without jobs.
In 2020, only 43.9 million or 59.5% of the 73.7 million Filipinos in the labor force were working or actively seeking employment due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The 3.7 million unemployed in 2021 translated into an unemployment rate of 7.8%, below the also 15-year high of 10.3% in 2020, when millions of jobs were lost and thousands of businesses closed after 75% of the economy was brought to a halt by shutdowns. to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The PSA noted that regional unemployment rates in the National Capital Region (NCR) at 10.6%, Calabarzon also at 10.6%, Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) at 9.2% , the Bicol region by 8.2%, the similar Ilocos region by 8.2%, as well as the Mimaropa 7.9% were higher than the national average.
Among local government units (LGUs), the PSA said that “Olongapo City has the highest unemployment rate at 14.4%, representing 14,670 unemployed out of 101,880 people in the labor force”, while Camarines Norte’s unemployment rate was the second highest last year, at 14.1 percent.
On the other hand, the employment rate of 92.2% in 2021 translated into 43.9 million Filipinos having jobs.
“Among the regions, the Zamboanga peninsula had the highest employment rate with 96%”, while “Mimaropa (92.1%), Ilocos region (91.8%), Bicol region (91.8%), BARMM (90.8%), Calabarzon (89.4%), and NCR (89.4%) recorded employment rates below the national estimate,” the PSA noted. .
Of all the LGUs, Surigao del Sur had the highest employment rate in 2021 at 97.7%, or 282,740 of its residents employed, out of the province’s 289,440 labor force.
The underemployment rate – the share of workers who wanted a job with longer working hours or higher pay – also fell to 15.9% last year, from 16.2% in 2020, while remaining above the 13.8% of 2019.
However, the number of Filipinos who considered themselves underemployed rose to seven million in 2021 from 6.4 million in 2020 and 5.9 million in 2019, given the greater number of those seeking employment to survive. amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
Agusan del Sur Province had the highest LGU (Local Government Unit) underemployment rate of 51.6% in 2021, while Cotabato City’s rate of 1.7% was the lowest.
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