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Joblessness at Record Level, SWS Says, Reflecting Human Toll of COVID Lockdown

Millions are out of work, study confirms.
by Joel Guinto
Aug 16, 2020
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

Unemployment is at record levels due to the coronavirus lockdown. The Social Weather Stations estimates that nearly half of Filipino adults, or some 27.3 million are jobless as of July.

Adult joblessness was at 45.5%, shattering the 34.4% set in March 2012. The July 3 to 6 poll of 1,555 respondents was the first SWS study on joblessness this year and the first to measure the effect of the quarantines that started in mid-March. Adult joblessness averaged 19.9% in 2019.

Half of those who lost their jobs during the survey period did so during the COVID-19 crisis.

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The SWS joblessness survey is different from official uneployment data released every three months by the Philippine Statistics Authority. In April, the PSA measured unemployment at 17.7%, padding the total jobless to 7.3 million. The SWS survey includes those 18 years old and up while the PSA measures unemployment among those 15 and up.


During the same survey period, the SWS found that nearly 8 in 10 Filipinos felt that their lives got worse in the last 12 months. Those who felt that they were losers because of diminished, the pollster created a new category: catastrophic.

The SWS defines jobless adults as those who: voluntarily left their old jobs, are seeking jobs for the first time, or lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control.

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