Employment creation remains strong as economy further reopens

The country’s net employment creation in December 2021 signals that the economy is on the right track to recovery, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported Thursday that unemployment slightly increased to 6.6 percent in December 2021 from 6.5 percent in November 2021.

However, this was more than offset by the larger increase in the labor force participation rate, which improved to 65.1 percent from 64.2 percent. This meant that around 800,000 more people were able to find work as mobility restrictions were relaxed in December. This brings net employment creation to 3.7 million above pre-pandemic levels.

The underemployment rate also declined to 14.7 percent in December compared to  16.7 percent in November, as the quality of jobs further improved.

“By accelerating the vaccination program and safely reopening more sectors of the economy, we were able to generate more and better jobs for the people. We look forward to building on these gains in 2022 now that we have contained the spread of Omicron and have reverted to Alert Level 2 in the National Capital Region and several provinces,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said.

Chua also highlighted how the government’s progress in implementing the 10-point policy of the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) will help bring back more employment opportunities, especially in hard-hit sectors like tourism and education.

Under Inter-Agency Task Force Resolution No. 159, the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) risk classification of countries under “green”, “yellow”, and “red” categories was temporarily suspended.

Starting February 10, fully-vaccinated Filipinos and international tourists from visa-free countries are only required to show a 48-hour negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result before departure from their country of origin.

International arriving passengers that meet these requirements are no longer required to undergo facility-based quarantine. This will help support the tourism industry’s recovery and return tourism-related employment.

Chua said the expansion of the vaccination program to the pediatric population will help pave the way for the resumption of face-to-face classes and restore employment in the education sector.

“While employment outcomes are expected to slightly deteriorate in January 2022 due to the higher alert levels, this will only be temporary as we vigorously pursue the implementation of the EDC’s 10-point policy. This will set the stage for our full recovery in 2022,” Chua said.