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Adult joblessness rises to record-high 45.5% or estimated 27 million unemployed

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josef san jose
an ordinary man trying to do extraordinary things

The special Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey found adult joblessness at 45.5% of the adult labor force which is a 28-point increase from 17.5% in December 2019, and a new record-high since the 34.4% in March 2012.

The survey found that one out of five (21%) adult Filipinos – or half of the 42% with no job at the time of the interview – lost their job during the Covid-19 crisis. The other 21% lost their livelihood before the pandemic. The rest either have a livelihood at the time of the interview (47%) or never had a job/livelihood before (11%) 

The proportion of those who lost their livelihood during the Covid-19 crisis is highest in Balance Luzon (23%), followed by the Visayas (19%), Mindanao (19%), and Metro Manila (18%).

The 28-point surge in the national joblessness rate was due to increases of 31 points in the Visayas, 29 points in Metro Manila, 28 points in Balance Luzon, and 25 points in Mindanao

Adult joblessness rose among women, up by 25 points from 30.8% in December 2019 to 55.8% in July 2020. It also rose among men, up by 28 points from 8.3% in December 2019 to 35.8% in July 2020.

As in past surveys, the 18-24 year-olds are the most jobless compared to other age groups.

The same survey found 79% of adult Filipinos saying their quality-of-life got worse (termed by SWS as “Losers”), versus 12% saying it was the same (“Unchanged”), and only 8% saying it got better (“Gainers”), compared to a year ago. Mahar Mangahas said that because both the May and the July numbers are so terrible that their old term of Extremely Low, for their old bottom category of -40 or worse, is woefully inadequate. Thus SWS has decided to designate the fixed range of -40 to -49 as Extremely Low, and create a new term, Catastrophic, for a new open-ended category of -50 or worse.

Mangahas further said that the catastrophe is everywhere. The net gainers’ scores are catastrophic in all parts of the country: -75 in the Visayas, -74 in the Balance of Luzon, -71 in the National Capital Region, and -65 in Mindanao. The sharing of the catastrophe has been affected by hunger. The proportion of hungry families climbed twice this year, initially from a relatively low 8.8 percent in December 2019 to 16.7 percent in May 2020, and subsequently to 20.9 percent in July 2020.

‘Whereas COVID-19 victims are in the tens of thousands, the hungry are in the millions.’ – Mahar Mangahas

In the same survey, three out of five or 60% of adult Filipinos say the national government, rather than the local government, is more responsible for solving the Covid-19 crisis. 23% say the local government, rather than the national government, is more responsible for solving the Covid-19 crisis, while 14% volunteered to say that the two government units are equally responsible for solving the Covid-19 crisis.

Sixty-one (61) % in Metro Manila, and 60% each in Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao, say the national government, rather than the local government, is more responsible for solving the Covid-19 crisis. Majorities in both urban (60%) and rural (61%) areas share this opinion.

The SWS July 3-6, 2020 National Mobile Phone Survey was a probability-based survey conducted using mobile phones and computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) of 1,555 adult Filipinos (18 years old and above) nationwide: 306 in the National Capital Region, 451 in Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside of Metro Manila), 388 in the Visayas, and 410 in Mindanao (sampling error margins of ±2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, and ±5% for Balance Luzon, ±5% for the Visayas, and ±5% for Mindanao).

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