Jobless rate in 2020 highest in 15 years

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    The Philippines’ unemployment rate in 2020 was the highest recorded under the current definition in 15 years, as the economy significantly felt the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)-induced crisis.

    The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said in a statement posted on its website yesterday based on the preliminary results of the 2020 annual estimates of the labor force survey (LFS), the annual unemployment rate in 2020 rose to 10.3 percent, accounting for 4.5 million unemployed Filipinos in the labor force. In 2019, unemployment rate registered at 5.1 percent.

    “This is the highest recorded annual unemployment rate since April 2005,” the PSA said.

    The current definition of unemployed was adopted starting April 2005, with jobless persons consisting of those in the labor force who are reported as without work; and currently available for work; and seeking work or not seeking work because of the belief that no work is available, or awaiting results of previous job application, or because of temporary illness or disability, bad weather or waiting for rehire or job recall.

    The PSA report estimated there were 43.9 million persons in the labor force in 2020, accounting for 59.5 percent labor force participation rate (LFPR) of the 73.7 million population 15 years old and over.

    “This annual LFPR is lowest since the adoption of the new definition of unemployed in April 2005, reflecting the effect of the various community quarantine restrictions, business closures, and physical distancing measures that were put in place in the Philippines starting March 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” the PSA said.

    The employment rate, or the proportion of employed persons to the total labor force, fell from 94.9 percent in 2019 to 89.7 percent or equivalent to 39.4 million total employed persons in 2020.

    The PSA is set to announce the results of the January 2021 round of the LFS today.