Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) announced there would bo no job fairs on Labor Day, May 1, 2020, as the government extended the enhanced community quarantine for the second time.
Job fairs are among the highlight of the Labor Day celebration in the Philippines. Thousands of local jobs and overseas were made available for Filipinos seeking employment, especially the fresh graduates.
However, with the suspension of mass gathering and restriction of people’s movement, DOLE had to cancel all job fairs nationwide for 2020.
“We cannot hold job fairs during the extended ECQ … So we won’t be having job fairs on May 1,” Labor Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay said.
Double-digit unemployment rate feared amid pandemic
Former Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) chief Ernesto Pernia said the unemployment rate in the country might return to a double-digit figure following the COVID-19 crisis from its “historical low” of 5.1 percent.
“Ang unemployment rate natin is only 5.1 percent. It’s a historical low,” Pernia said in an interview on dzMM.
“It’s now 5.1 percent, before this crisis. It can go back to double-digit, yung unemployment rate natin,” he added.
According to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the unemployment rate in the country declined from 5.2 percent in 2018 to 5.1 percent in 2019.
The United Nation’s labor body meanwhile projected that the pandemic would wipe out 6.7% of working hours globally in the second quarter of 2020 – the equivalent of 195 million jobs worldwide.
Aside from the unemployment, Filipino could also experience a slowed economic growth to a dismal 0.6 percent, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippines’ current account deficit was expected to widen to 2.3 percent of GDP this year from 0.1 percent last year.
“Tighter global financial conditions, weaker public confidence, and lower remittances are also expected to weigh on private consumption and investment. The negative impacts of COVID-19 are expected to be partially offset by policy support. The virus outbreak is assumed to peak in the second quarter of 2020, leading to a gradual recovery in the second half of the year. Growth is projected to rebound from a low 2020 base to 7.6 percent in 2021,” IMF resident representative in the Philippines Yongzheng Yang.