MANILA – The reopening of the economy and increased spending on infrastructure are expected to further boost the country’s employment figures, which performed better from March 2021.
The Philippines Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday that the unemployment rate fell from 8.8% last February to 7.1% last March, the lowest since the government implemented the quarantine Community Reinforced (ECQ) from mid-March 2020 to the end of April for Luzon. , and end of May 2020 for the National Capital Region.
While the latest report is a positive development, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) chief economist Michael Ricafort said it has yet to reveal the impact of the two-week ECQ in NCR Plus which began on March 29 and was extended until April 11.
He however highlighted the differences between the implementation of the ECQ in 2020 and this year, such as on public transport which has not been paralyzed unlike 2020 as well, the impact of the most stringent movement restrictions in March. last is not as bad as last year.
“Thus, a further reopening of the economy after the lockdowns would provide a more structural and sustainable solution in terms of increased production, sales, income / livelihoods which also create / involve more jobs / d ‘jobs and more working hours, “he said.
But even with the lockdowns, Ricafort said increased public spending on infrastructure should support employment.
He said the Law on Business Recovery and Tax Incentives for Businesses (CREATE), as well as the record interest rates of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), are assets for the economy because they are seen as encouraging more investment which will in turn lead to increased labor requirements and increased economic activity.
“The unemployment rate could gradually decline further to single-digit levels in about one to two years, in line with the possible recovery of the economy as a whole in time for the presidential year 2022, where government spending would increase, especially for infrastructure spending and other government projects a few months before the May 2022 election and the increase in consumer spending during the campaign period, especially in Q1 (Q1) 2022 “, he added.
Meanwhile, economic officials said easing movement restrictions and requiring the public to meet minimum health standards resulted in a drop in the employment rate last March.
“Increasing participation in the labor market and falling unemployment have allowed millions of Filipinos to regain their jobs and income in March 2021,” they said in a statement.
In addition to the drop in the unemployment rate last March, the PSA said the underemployment rate fell to 16.2% from 18.2% last February, “reflecting the improvement in the quality of jobs”.
In addition, the labor market participation rate fell from 63.5% to 65% last March.
“This resulted in a net job creation of 2.2 million between February 2021 and March 2021, with the number of employed Filipinos increasing from 43.2 million to 45.3 million,” the statement said.
Economic officials predict an increase in the unemployment rate in April following the establishment of the ECQ at the end of March and the MECQ thereafter.
“However, the impact is expected to be less severe compared to April 2020 given our more risk-managed approach to current quarantines,” the statement added. (ANP)