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The labor force

The labor situation in the country has improved, based on the latest report of the Philippine Statistics Authority which showed unemployment easing to 7.7 percent in May, accounting for 3.73 million unemployed Filipinos in the labor force.

This is a significant decrease from the 8.7 percent in April and the improvement is attributed to the continued easing of mobility restrictions that helped some Filipinos regain lost jobs in May. The rollout of more Covid-19 vaccines is expected to further aid in overall employment recovery in the country.

In a joint statement, economic managers highlighted the tight link between labor market outcomes and the level of quarantine restrictions. They said the lowering of quarantine levels and continued rollout of the vaccination program led to gains in labor and employment data.

The total employment rate went up to 92.3 percent, translating to 44.72 million employed Filipinos. Overall, 1.5 million jobs were created between April and May.

To sustain the gains, President Duterte’s economic team said the National Employment Recovery Strategy should be implemented and the rollout of vaccines accelerated. Following the expansion of the A4 priority group, more than 800,000 workers have received their first dose.

“We encourage local government units and establishments to coordinate in setting up vaccination facilities in workplaces. This will accelerate vaccine deployment and give our workers the confidence to go out and earn a living while keeping their families safe,” the economic team said.

Government and the private sector have been walking the tightrope, balancing between opening the economy and preventing additional Covid-19 infection surges. The entry of vaccines should make that balancing act easier, but there is a lot of work to be done if we are to vaccinate enough Filipinos to safely reopen and revitalize the economy. Local governments have to continue protecting their populations from infection while pushing the vaccination rollout as aggressively as supplies and the number of Filipinos willing to be vaccinated allow.*

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