Critical moment for jobs if lockdowns are re-implemented

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

PHILIPPINES: The Philippines will risk losing what it has recovered in employment if the government decides to impose new lockdown to stop the spread of new variants of Covid-19.

That is the opinion of the Department of Finance, which has analysed the labour market impacts of previous movement control orders across the Philippines.

In March 2021, the unemployment rate fell to 7.1%, the lowest ever since the pandemic began last year. However, lockdowns in metropolitan Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal resulted in the overall loss of more than two million jobs.

In May 2021, the rate stood at 7.7%, compared to 8.7% in April 2021 as the loosening of restrictions allowed various industries to open up again in these areas.

Finance Undersecretary and chief economist Gil Beltran said the nation is yet to get back on its feet to reclaim the many jobs lost because of the pandemic.

“The government should ensure whatever gains made in minimising risks from the pandemic is sustained because another return to such a strict quarantine status will result in the same economic consequences faced before,” he said.

According to Beltran, the employment figures were currently encouraging and new shipments of vaccines will further boost the chances of an economic recovery.

“The government aims to vaccinate 70% of the population by December 2021 but has struggled to speed up the process due to competition globally for procurement of the vaccine,” Beltran said.

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