Tuesday, April 13, 2021
With the pandemic still around everybody’s backyard, the labor sector was not spared from its systemic effect as employment still behind the level a year ago.
The latest Labor Force Survey (LFS) conducted in January 2021 showed the latest employment rate in the region at 94.0 percent, two percentage points lower than the record captured a year ago. The latest rate went down by 0.2 percentage points from the LFS result in October 2020 but way above the lowest employment rate recorded in April 2020, when the 1st lockdown was declared nationwide. As noted, employment rate in the region started to accelerate in July 2020 when restriction on movement was tapered off a bit.
At the national level, the employment trend for the five reference periods is almost similar with the regional trend. However, the latest LFS showed no change in terms of the national employment rate between October 2020 and January 2020 estimated at 91.3 percent. Noteworthy, the country’s employment has been improving after the lowest recorded rate in April 2020 at 82.4 percent. However, the latest national employment rate is still 3.4 percentage points lower than the rate record before the pandemic (January 2020). Surprisingly, the national average and the regional employment rate of the region is almost at the same level in October 2020 with the latter rate higher by only 0.6 percentage points.
Across the country, all regions recorded a lower employment rate in January 2021 compared with the record captured in January 2020. Region IX (Zamboanga Peninsula) emerged with the highest employment rate (96.4 percent) in the latest survey with almost the same rate figured out a year ago. Region XI (Davao Region) and Region II (Cagayan Valley), in that order, is trailing behind Region IX in terms of employment. CAR region which posted the highest employment rate in January 2020 placed only 4th in terms of employment in January 2021 with its record of 93.7 percent, a decrement of about 3.5 percentage points from its record captured a year ago. The Northern Mindanao region (Region X) which placed 2nd in terms of employment in January 2020 landed only in the sixth place in January 2021 with its latest employment rate of 92.9 percent, a decline of about 3.9 percent from its report a year ago. Meanwhile, other regions employment rate was slashed between two to four percentage points from its employment rate captured in January 2020 and only Region I (Ilocos region) record of employment remain almost unchanged in both periods under review. Ilocos region posted the lowest employment in January 2020.
On the other hand, only two regions posted its employment at less than ninety percent. CALABARZON region recorded the lowest rate at 86.9 percent while Region V (Bicol region), also at the bottom, posted an employment record of 88.7 percent. Both regions’ current employment rate was down by more than five percentage points from its level in January 2020.
Across reference periods, the Labor Force Population (LFP) of 15 years and over was estimated at more than 2.4 million with the highest LFP recorded in January 2021 and the lowest, counted a year ago. The Labor Force Participation Rate, on the other hand, depicted a see-saw pattern for the past five reference periods. LPFR was recorded at 64.4 in January 2020, three percentage points lower than the LPFR in January 2021. Meanwhile LPFR in April 2020 was noted as the lowest during the periods in review while LPFR for July and October 2020 is still below sixty percent.
In terms of unemployed persons in the region, the latest count at about 95 thousand tick-up a bit from the October 2020 record of almost 81 thousand unemployed individual. Notably, the highest estimate in terms of unemployed persons in the region was noted in April 2020 that shoots up to almost 198 thousand and slid down a bit at more than 136 thousand unemployed in July 2020. The count of unemployed individual went down further to almost 80 thousand in October 2020 but still above the record set in Jan 2020. As expected, in terms of unemployment rate, the highest record so far was recorded in April 2020 at 15.6 percent although it was declining in the three succeeding periods of the survey. The latest unemployment rate at 6.0 percent is still two percentage points higher than the record in January 2020.
Meantime, underemployed was estimated at 260 thousand persons in January 2021, up by 78.0 percent from the October 2020 estimate. Across all periods under review, the count in October 2020 at 146 thousand underemployed individual was the lowest so far captured in the LFS. On the other hand, the highest estimate on underemployed during the past year was noted in July 2020 counted at more than 314 thousand. On the average, underemployment rate for the past year was noted at more than seventeen percent but the April 2020 estimate climbed to as high 21.8 percent while the October 2020 estimate dipped down to as low as 11.1 percent.
MARILYN T. ESTRADA