One in three Filipinos out of work as pandemic bites

PHILIPPINES: One in three Filipinos is now jobless, according to a survey of the Social Weather Stations (SWS). This translates to more than 11 million of the country’s 44.5 million-strong labour force.

Joblessness is highest in the key cities, including Metro Manila (34.1% in unemployment), Luzon (29.1%), Mindanao (18.1%), and Visayas (16.1%).

The numbers show that the Philippines has one of the highest unemployment rates in the region, with the World Bank data saying that in Southeast Asia, the average unemployment rate was only 2.9% even at the peak of the pandemic in 2020.

Sonny Africa, executive director of the Ibon Foundation, a local think tank, said that jobs were not only scarce but worsening in quality, citing that out of the reported three million additional jobs created since 2016, some 95% were just part-time work.

“The next administration cannot be as dismissive as the current one and needs to take aggressive measures to boost household purchasing power and aggregate demand, such as through large cash transfers and a bold public employment program,” he stressed.

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