Increased mobility and easing of restrictions led to significant employment creation in February 2022, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reported Thursday that the country’s unemployment rate in February was maintained at 6.4 percent, the lowest since the start of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
At the same time, the labor force participation rate increased from 60.5 percent in January to 63.8 percent in February which led to a net employment creation of 2.5 million over the same period.
This brings the country’s employment to 2.9 million above the pre-pandemic level.
The quality of jobs also improved as seen in the decline in the underemployment rate from 14.9 percent to 14.0 percent.
“As we contained the spread of the Omicron variant and ramped up the vaccination program, we were able to revert to alert level 2 in the National Capital Region and other economic centers starting February 2022. This allowed more Filipinos to rejoin the labor force. We aim to shift the entire country to alert level 1 to enable even more Filipinos to find work,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua said.
As of April 1, 2022, 79 percent of the economy has been placed under alert level 1.
However, NEDA also cautions that the country cannot reap the full benefits of shifting to alert level 1 without resuming face-to-face classes.
“To maximize the shift to alert level 1, we reiterate the need for the full and urgent resumption of face-to-face classes. This will allow one-fourth of the parents who stay at home supporting their children during online classes to work. This is crucial in light of the temporary inflationary pressures we are experiencing due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict,” Chua said.
The full resumption of face-to-face classes is included in the 10-point policy agenda proposed by the Economic Development Cluster and adopted by the President through the issuance of Executive Order No. 166.
The agenda includes 10 key strategies to accelerate and sustain the country’s economic recovery and strengthen the domestic economy against external shocks.