The Department of Finance (DOF) said the number of employed Filipinos went back to pre-pandemic levels early this year after more than 8.7 million Filipinos lost their jobs in April 2020 because of the pandemic.
A DOF economic bulletin said employed individuals reached 43 million as of January 2021, higher than the 42.5 million during the same period last year.
As of last April, employment reached almost 43.3 million but the economic bulletin said this could be higher if not for the reimposition of a two-week enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) starting March 29 in National Capital Region (NCR) Plus to address the surge in Covid-19 infections and the implementation of the modified ECQ in the succeeding weeks.
NCR Plus also covers four nearby provinces namely Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite.
Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) data show that imposition in the strictest quarantine level resulted in the drop in employment rate to 91.3 percent last April from 92.9 percent in the previous month.
Unemployment rate rose to 8.7 percent from month-ago’s 7.1 percent, and underemployment jumped to 17.2 percent from 16.2 percent in the previous month.
The economic bulletin said unemployment in the NCR rose from 506,000 last March to 875,000 in the following month.
The unemployment rate in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon (Calabarzon) increased by 8.4 percent during the same period.
The economic bulletin said it is thus imperative that the health risks posed by the epidemic be managed effectively and efficiently and its transmission arrested.
If not, “(the) government will be forced to transition from risk management stance to risk avoidance posture and make the difficult and painful decision of re-imposing much stricter quarantine measures,” it said.
“In this instance, in the process of attempting to stem the spread of the disease, the risk of inadvertently killing the proverbial patient increases. Such potential unpleasant double-effect situation(s) should be avoided,” the report added.
It said inclusion of economic front-liners in the priority groups for vaccination is an important step in protecting the population and the subsequent easing of restrictions. SOVEREIGNPH