PCCI explains how jobless data reflect business woes 

THE latest employment figure points to the difficulties confronting businesses, including the high cost of raw materials caused by supply chain disruptions, according to an official of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).

“Actually, the increase is minimal. But having said that, in the business sector the problems still exist—the supply chain, it impacts the raw materials,” PCCI President George T. Barcelon told the BusinessMirror on Monday when he was asked to comment on the increase in the number of jobless Filipinos.

The PCCI chief also noted that the energy sector is among the sectors that’s also a cause for concern since some areas in the country are experiencing power outages. “I’ve been hearing that power is also of concern as there are places with brownout,” he added, partly in Filipino.

Despite the reopening of the economy, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said there’s a reason why some workers could not be recalled.

Ortiz-Luis told the BusinessMirror that the rise in the number of jobless Filipinos is “more of timing” instead of a trend. “It’s just seasonal. And, the opening of the economy is a big part of it. There’s a  reason why some workers can’t be recalled.”

The ECOP chief added that at this time of the year, many young people have just graduated but they cannot be accommodated yet since there are still numerous workers that need to be recalled.

However, Ortiz-Luis said, “they cannot easily be addressed because there are still many workers that had to temporarily be laid off.” The new entrants can’t be accommodated until these are recalled and there remain gaps in the work force.

The ECOP chief noted that the new entrants are having a hard time entering the workforce because they’re not yet the priority.

The “slow” entry of new job seekers, he said, is explained by their being “second priority,” hence, are not “employed right away.”

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the number of jobless Filipinos reached 2.99 million in June 2022. There were 2.93 million unemployed Filipinos in May 2022 and 3.77 million in June 2021.

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) in June 2022 was registered at 64.8 percent or about 49.58 million Filipinos who were either employed or unemployed. This was lower than the LFPR reported in the same period in 2021 at 65.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the PSA said the number of underemployed Filipinos reached 5.89 million in June 2022. There were 6.67 million underemployed Filipinos in May 2022 and 6.41 million in June 2021.

As for the employment rate, the June 2022 data showed that it remained the same as the 94 percent employment rate reported in May 2022. This was higher than the employment rate of 92.3 percent registered in the same period of 2021.