04/08/2022, 14.48
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Unemployment levels rising as more overseas Filipinos return home

by Stefano Vecchia

The PSA’s latest figures show that the unemployed and underemployed represent more than 20 per cent of the workforce. Political uncertainty and the Ukraine war are making matters worse, while many are coming home from Macao, Thailand and Vietnam because of the crisis.

Manila (AsiaNews) – The latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that unemployment has increased in the country for workers 15 and older, from 2.93 million to 3.3 million between January and February.

Although limited, the rise is significant, confirming a trend that saw unemployment go up from 2.24 per cent of the active population in 2019 to 6.4 per cent at present.

In addition, many part-time and gig workers are looking for better paid or more stable jobs.

Overall, the underemployed numbered reached 6.38 million in February, or 14 per cent of the labour force.

Combined, the unemployed and underemployed represent more than 20 per cent of the total.

The gradual reopening of the economy following the easing of pandemic restrictions saw a rise in the number of unemployed actively seeking work, from 60.5 to 63.8 per cent in the same period.

At the same time, the war in Ukraine is not likely to have anything but negative economic consequences in Southeast Asia.

The political uncertainty ahead of the presidential and other elections in May risks aggravating the crisis in both actual and perceived terms.

The difficulties faced by Philippine workers abroad will also play a role. About 10 per cent of the 110 million Filipinos work abroad and face uncertainties in many parts of the world with a negative impact on their jobs, rights, and family, both at home and abroad.

For example, hundreds of Filipinos have recently returned from Macau, Thailand and Vietnam, a thousand from Bangkok alone, following others who went home in the past two years after losing their job or exhausted by privations and illness (the remains of at least three were repatriated from Macau).

Among those still abroad, many are jobless, barely surviving.

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