MANILA, Aug 17 (Mabuhay) — Adult joblessness in the Philippines rose to a record-high of 45.5% in July with half of the unemployed saying they lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic, a recent poll of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) revealed.
According to the results of the SWS National Mobile Phone Survey, adult joblessness rose by 28 percentage points from 17.5% in December 2019, to overtake the previous record high of 34.4% in March 2012.
The SWS qualified jobless adults as those who voluntarily left their jobs, those seeking jobs for the first time, or those who lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control.
The latest poll indicated an 86.4% Labor Force Participation Rate or the proportion of adults in the labor force, estimated to be worth 60 million adults.
This is an increase from the 68.7% Labor Force Participation Rate recorded in December 2019, estimated to be 45.5 million adults.
Results of the same survey found that one out of every five adult Filipinos or half of the 42% with no job or livelihood said they lost their job during the coronavirus pandemic.
The remaining 21% of the unemployed said they lost their jobs before the coronavirus struck the country.
Respondents were asked: “If does not have a job/livelihood but had one before: When did you lose your job or livelihood? Is this before the Covid-19 crisis or just now while there is Covid-19 crisis?”
The surge in the national rate was reflected in increases in all regions in the country: Visayas by 31 percentage points, Metro Manila by 29 percentage points, Balance Luzon by 28 percentage points, and Mindanao by 25 percentage points.
Joblessness also rose for men which rose by 28 percentage points to 35.8%, and women which grew by 25 percentage points to 55.8%.
Unemployment likewise rose in urban areas by 29 percentage points to a record high of 43.9%, and in rural areas by 26 percentage points to a record high of 46.0%.
The survey was conducted from July 3 to 6, using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) of 1,555 adult Filipinos across the country.
Broken down, this includes 306 in the National Capital Region, 451 in Balance Luzon, 388 in the Visayas, and 410 in Mindanao.
The survey results reported sampling error margins of ±2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, and ±5 for Balance Luzon, ±5% for the Visayas, and ±5% for Mindanao.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in June reported an unemployment rate of 17.7% in April, reflecting an increase of 5 million jobless Filipinos to 7.3 million.
Bello countered the PSA’s numbers, claiming there were only 69,000 unemployed Filipinos during the period.
Bello’s claims were refuted by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, which noted that its members alone reported a total of 3.5 million unemployed Filipinos.
For its part, the Social Security System (SSS) said members who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 will receive up to P20,000 cash benefits, depending on their monthly salary credit.
The Department of Finance (DOF) also earlier said that the SSS is “fully prepared” to provide assistance to jobless Filipinos. (MNS)