NEDA projects PH unemployment rate of up to 8 percent in 2021
MANILA, Philippines — The National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) projects that the country’s unemployment rate in 2021 could range between 6 percent and 8 percent.
“So long as we continue relaxing the quarantine levels, the economy actually responds very fast. The normal average unemployment rate is around five percent. So, we are seeing the recovery bring the projected unemployment rate next year to around six to eight percent,” NEDA Acting Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua told lawmakers on Thursday during the Senate deliberations on the proposed P4.5 trillion national budget.
“Hopefully we can do better when the economy recovers faster,” he added.
The latest unemployment rate in July “improved” to 10 percent as compared to the 17.7 percent recorded in April, Chua noted. The unemployment rate is measured every three months.
It was in mid-March until June that Metro Manila— the Philippines’ main economic hub—was placed under strict coronavirus lockdown measures, which led to the temporary shutdown of many businesses that displaced millions of workers.
Citing the country’s employment levels, Chua said 8.8 million jobs were lost between January until April “because of the very strict quarantine.”
“But between April and July. We recovered 7.5 million in employment. As a result, yung ating unemployment rate bumaba from 17.7 percent to 10 percent, and our labor force participation increased from 55.6 percent to 61.9 percent,” he said upon questioning of Senator Joel Villanueva, chair of the Senate labor committee.
“Meaning those who are physically, willing, able, and available to work actually increased because the economy opened up and allowed them to come back,” Chua added.
The NEDA chief said the country’s average unemployment rate in 2020 so far is at 11 percent.
The unemployment rate in January was recorded at 5 percent, 17.7 percent in April, and 10 percent in July.
“Our original target for this year is 11 to 13 percent. So, we are actually in the low end of our target,” Chua said.
“We think as the economy opens up further, we don’t restrict public transport, we allow people to just go back to work because they can work and are willing to work, we can lower this further,” he added.
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