DoF: More jobless Pinoys in Feb

THE unemployment rate in the country rose to 8.8 percent in February, which translated to more jobless Filipinos, according to the latest economic bulletin released by the Department of Finance (DoF) on Sunday.

Preliminary figures it provided showed that the February rate — higher than the 8.7 percent rate in January — was equivalent to 4.18 million out-of-work individuals, expanding from the 3.95 million in a month earlier.

Meantime, the country’s underemployment rate — or the proportion of the employed wanting additional work — picked up to 18.2 percent in the second month of the year from 16 percent in January. This translated to 7.85 million underemployed individuals.

The country’s employment rate, on the other hand, marginally dropped to 91.2 percent n February from the 91.3 percent in January. Despite this, the number of employed Filipinos expanded to 43.15 million in February from 41.24 million a month earlier.

Lastly, the DoF reported that the labor force participation rate inched up to 63.5 percent in February from 60.5 percent in January as more of the labor force started to look for jobs.

“Potential employees saw that the economy had begun to stir back to recovery, although this was not enough to create jobs for the 2.1 million persons who joined the labor force,” it said.

To sustain this, the Finance department is pushing for a localized and time-bound quarantine measures that will not greatly affect the employment situation in the country.

“Like fiscal incentives that should be time-bound and targeted, strict quarantine measures, if and when they are called for, should be localized and time-bound while not unnecessarily hampering the transportation of goods and delivery of services so as to minimize the collateral damage on the economy and, consequently, employment,” the DoF said.

It added it is important that the health risks posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 epidemic be managed effectively, either by pharmaceutical or non-pharmaceutical interventions, and with the conscientious participation of all.

“Otherwise, government will be forced to take the difficult and painful decision of imposing much stricter quarantines measures. In this instance, in the process of attempting to stem the spread of the disease the risk of inadvertently killing the proverbial patient increases. Such potential unpleasant double-effect situation should be avoided,” the DoF stressed.

Furthermore, it said the timely passage of Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises or Create Act is a welcome development not only in improving the country’s long-term competitiveness, but also in providing immediate relief and support for enterprises, the important players in providing employment opportunities to a large portion of the population.

Signed into law last March 27, Create retroactively reduced the income tax of domestic corporations to 25 percent from 30 percent. Meanwhile, the corporate income tax rate for local businesses with a net taxable income of P5 million and below, and total assets (excluding land) of up to P100 million was trimmed from 30 percent to 20 percent.

The law also modernizes fiscal incentives by making them performance-based, targeted, time-bound and transparent.