October 12, 2021

DTI: The unemployment rate indicates a rocky road to economic recovery

The country’s senior trade official stated on Thursday, September 30, 2021, that the country’s road to economic recovery remained difficult under the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) epidemic.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) announced on Thursday that the jobless rate increased to 8.1 percent in August 2021, up from 6.9% in July 2021, which was the lowest since the epidemic began.

“It simply goes to demonstrate that the road to rehabilitation isn’t going to be easy. Yes, some sectors are recovering, but others are very susceptible to community quarantine classifications, particularly if ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) or MECQ (modified community quarantine) or Levels 5 or 4 are proclaimed,” DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters.

Under the new alert level system protocol, more companies in the ECQ and MECQ classifications, or Levels 5 and 4, were shut down.

Metro Manila was returned to ECQ early in August and is now at Alert Level 4.

“As shown in the latest labor force survey,” Lopez said, “they may contribute to job losses.”

He went on to say that the DTI is recommending that companies be allowed to continue at all alert levels, with just the operating capacity for each level being adjusted to guarantee business continuity and prevent job losses.

Under Alert Level 4, the trade chief also supported the business sector’s proposal to expand capacity for indoor and outdoor dine-in and personal care services.

According to Lopez, the DTI is contemplating increasing indoor dine-in and personal care services to up to 30% from the existing 10%, but only for vaccinated people.

DTI is trying to increase the authorized operational capacity for outdoor economic operations from 30% to 50%, independent of vaccination status, he added.

“So, regardless of alert levels, the best strategy is to maintain continuity in operations and jobs,” Lopez added.

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