President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said recently 1.2 new million jobs have been provided to Filipinos because of the “half a percent” drop in unemployment rate, but his figures don’t match those from official surveys.
At his meeting with the Filipino community in Bangkok, Thailand on Nov. 19, during which he said the employment situation has surpassed prepandemic levels, Marcos said at the 1:38:56 mark:
Bumababa ang ating unemployment rate, bumagsak ng I think at half a percent, ang kahulugan niyan ay 1.2 million jobs — may bagong 1.2 million na trabaho na nabigay natin, nalampasan na natin ang employment nung bago nung pandemya (Our unemployment rate is decreasing, down to, I think, at half a percent, which means 1.2 million jobs — there are 1.2 million jobs we newly provided, we already surpassed the employment situation before the pandemic).
The latest Labor Force Survey shows the country posting a 95% employment rate last September, which indeed is higher than the 94.7% rate in January 2020, two months before the World Health Organization declared the global COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic and the Philippine government imposed a lockdown.
The unemployment rates, meanwhile, were 5% in September 2022 and 5.3% in January 2020.
This means that the unemployment rate went down by 0.3 percentage points (pp) or 5.7% for that period, not by “less than half a percent” as Marcos erroneously claimed.
The unemployment rate dropped from 6% in June to 5.2% in July this year (down 0.8 pp or 13.3%), Marcos’ first month in office, then rose slightly to 5.3% in August (up 0.1 pp or 1.9% from the previous month) and slid to 5% in September (down 0.3 pp or 5.7%).
While Marcos computed a “half a percent” drop in unemployment rate as equivalent 1.2 million new jobs, the labor force surveys show the number of jobless workers decreasing by around 390,000 in July, increasing by 80,000 in August, and declining again in September, this time by 180,000.
Unemployed Filipinos numbered 2.5 million as of last September compared to 2.4 million in January 2020 before the pandemic, or a difference of 100,000.
The surveys further show the number of employed workers rising by around 800,000 in July and by 480,000 in August before dropping by 290,000 in September.
In January 2020, the number of employed Filipinos stood at 42.5 million. As of last September, 47.58 million Filipinos were employed.
In September 2021, the Philippine News Agency reported that the government’s Public Employment Service Office (PESO) helped over 1.2 million applicants secure jobs from January to August 2021.
An annual report of the Bureau of Local Employment said PESO placed over 1.5 million jobseekers in 2020.
This was during the term of Rodrigo Duterte, not Marcos who assumed office last June 30.
Marcos met with the Filipino community alongside his participation in the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit in Bangkok. (JA)