Unemployment in May decreases with ‘NCR Plus’ relaxation

The number of unemployed Filipinos dropped in May as lockdowns in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus were eased, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

According to the PSA, the country’s unemployment rate was at 7.7 percent in May.

That is, the number of unemployed is 3.73 million from the previous 4.14 million registered.

12.3 percent are underemployed – or those with jobs that do not match the course taken – from 17.2 percent in April. The underemployment rate in May was the lowest since January 2021.

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) in May 2021 was placed at 64.6 percent, equivalent to 48.45 million individuals who were either employed or unemployed. This is higher than the LFPR reported in the months of January (60.5%), February (63.5%), and April (63.2%) of 2021.

On May 15 this year, the NCR Plus Bubble (NCR, Cavite, Rizal, Laguna, Bulacan) was placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions – after several weeks of modified enhanced, and enhanced community quarantine.

Unemployment in May decreases with ‘NCR Plus’ relaxation

Although the unemployment rate is lower compared to April, Civil Registrar General Dennis Mapa said it is still high.

“Sa monthly and quarterly data sa unemployment rate ito ang 16th highest at 7.7 percent – hindi pa natin matatawag na mababa siya,” said Mapa.

According to economist Michael L. Ricafort, the number of employed may increase in the coming months. It is expected to pursue more government construction projects before its election ban in 2022.

“Unemployment could again ease to 6 percent-7 percent levels in the coming months of 2021 as well as into 2022, in view of the elections, the preparations for which would entail increased government spending especially on infrastructure in the remaining months of 2021 until shortly before the May 2022 elections,” said Ricafort, chief economist of RCBC Treasury Group.

The government’s economic managers, on the other hand, hope that the employment rate and will recover in the face of the launch of in the A4 and A5 priority groups.

Before the end of June, it is said that more than 800,000 workers have already received the first dose.

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