Double-digit unemployment rate feared due to COVID-19 crisis
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s unemployment rate might shoot up should a recession occur due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the country’s chief economist said Wednesday.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) chief Ernesto Pernia said the unemployment rate might return to a double-digit figure following the COVID-19 outbreak from its “historical low” of 5.1 percent.
“Ang unemployment rate natin is only 5.1 percent. It’s a historical low,” Pernia said in an interview on dzMM.
“It’s now 5.1 percent, before this crisis. It can go back to double-digit, yung unemployment rate natin,” he added.
The country’s unemployment rate declined from 5.2 percent in 2018 to 5.1 percent in 2019, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).
Pernia earlier said a recession “can’t be ruled out” due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.
This could be a result of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine imposed by the government to slow down and address the spread of COVID-19.
Under the strict quarantine measure, home quarantine is imposed, while all modes of transportation are suspended.
Exempted from the measure are health workers and employees involved in key, basic services, such as, but not limited to food deliveries, banking, groceries /supermarkets and pharmacies /drug stores.
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