February 10, 2022 – Despite the slight percentage increase in unemployment, we welcome the December 2021 result of the Labor Force Survey on a positive note as it reflects the efforts of the government towards recovery of the labor market throughout the year.

The country’s employment level significantly increased by 797,000 compared to the previous month, from 45.477M in November 2021 to 46.274M in December 2021. This brings the employment rate to 93.4%, and unemployment rate to 6.6%.

While there is a slight increase in the unemployment rate on a month-on-month basis, the full year employment indicators are way better in 2021 with employment rate at 92.2% and unemployment rate at 7.8%, in contrast to the 2020 employment rate of 89.6% and unemployment rate of 10.4%. The same holds true for the underemployment level which improved from 16.4% in 2020 to 15.9% in 2021.

The increase in the labor force participation rate has been expected due to increased economic activities brought by the holidays, and more importantly, given that more businesses were allowed to operate under Alert Level 2 which was imposed in many parts of the country. This underscores the importance of managing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to allow lesser restrictions in the economy and more businesses to operate.

While these improvements in the labor market can be undermined by the surge that we experienced due to the Omicron variant and the devastation of Typhoon Odette, the government has been working to alleviate its adverse impact through mechanisms such as the National Employment Recovery Strategy 2021-2022 and the Task Group on Economic Recovery.

We reiterate the need for our people to be vaccinated and avail boosters, and to strictly adhere to minimum public health standards (MPHS) and occupational safety and health policies. As we gradually treat the ‘pandemic’ as ‘endemic’, let us continue to be vigilant and avoid complacency by always wearing face masks, washing hands, observing physical distancing, and avoiding crowded places.

DOLE will remain consistent in actively supporting initiatives towards sustained improvement and recovery of our labor market. # # #