Philippines jobless rate surges amid coronavirus lockdown


A barber is cutting the hair of a customer at a barbershop as it reopened after closing due to the Covid-19 in Quezon City, Manila on Sunday (June 7). The Philippines’ jobless rate soared to a record 17.7 per cent in April, overlapping with a strict and lengthy coronavirus lockdown, the government has announced. - AFP

MANILA (dpa): The Philippines’ jobless rate soared to a record 17.7 per cent in April, overlapping with a strict and lengthy coronavirus lockdown, the government has announced.

The rate, determined by a quarterly survey, translates to 7.3 million Filipinos who were unemployed as of April, the Philippine Statistics Authority said.

"This is a record high in the unemployment rate reflecting the effects of (the) Covid-19 economic shutdown to the Philippine labour market,” national statistician Claire Dennis Mapa said.

The jobless index was up from 5.1 per cent in the same month in 2019, and 5.3 per cent in January, the agency said.

The Philippine government first imposed a lockdown across the country in the middle of March in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Schools, public transport, shopping malls, churches, as well as government and private offices were closed.

Only one person per household was allowed to leave to buy essential supplies.

According to the labour department, at least 2.7 million workers were displaced nationwide due to the lockdown.

More than 340,000 Filipino migrant workers were also affected by the pandemic worldwide, it added.

The restrictions across the Philippines were gradually relaxed starting mid-May.

On June 1, public transport resumed limited operations as government and private offices were allowed to re-open but with reduced workforce.

Schools remained shut, and authorities stressed that people should still avoid leaving their homes unless for essential travel.

There were more than 20,300 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Philippines as of Thursday, including 984 deaths, according to the Department of Health. - dpa
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