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Unemployment Eases as COVID Quarantines Loosen: Gov't Data

The state of the job market as the year of COVID ends.
Dec 3, 2020
Photo/s: Jerome Ascano

There were 3.8 million jobless Filipinos at the end of October, the Philippine Statistics Authority said Thursday, as the unemployment rate eased with the careful and gradual reopening of the economy from COVID-19 quarantines that spanned nearly the entire of 2020.

The unemployment rate in October was at 8.7%, from 10% in July and 17.6% in April. The total number of jobless Filipinos was down to 3.8 million in October, from 4.6 million in July and 7.2 million in April, National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said.

The PSA's Labor Force Survey covers Filipinos aged 15 and above. The 8.7% unemployment rate for October means that for every 1,000 Filipinos in the labor force, 87 are jobless, he said.

In the quarter ended September, the economy shrank by 11.5%,  compared to 16.9% in the previous quarter as it showed signs of a rebound. The recovery, however, was not as quick as the rest of Southeast Asia. Last month, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas delivered a surprise cut in the benchmark interest rate.

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Metro Manila, Davao City, Batangas, Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Lanao del Sur, Iligan City  and Davao del Norte are under the second lowest quarantine classification, GCQ, until Dec. 31. The rest of the country is under MGCQ, the lowest quarantine.

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Most businesses and travel have resumed with strict requirements for social distancing, hand-washing, and wearing of face masks and face shields.

Many who have been laid off or forced to cut working hours have found side hustles as delivery drivers or home-based entrepreneurs.


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