Employment rate in central Visayas now reaches 92.1%, according to PSA 7

Despite an unemployment rate of 7.9% in the Central Visayas at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) 7 said it was now seeing signs of weak growth in the job this year.

But officials at PSA 7 have warned that the unemployment rate in the region could rise again if workplaces do not strictly implement health protocols to protect their workers from transmission of the 2019 coronavirus disease.

During the report on the economic performance of PSA 7, Leopoldo Alfanta Jr., chief statistical specialist of PSA 7, said that in January of this year the employment rate was 92.1%.

Before the pandemic, the Central Visayas maintained an employment rate above 95%.

But when the region was placed under enhanced community quarantine to slow the spread of Covid-19 in April 2020, the employment rate fell to 83.3%.

The drop in the employment rate was caused by temporary closures and the shutdown of non-essential businesses, while some businesses also downsized.

Efren Carreon, director of the National Economic and Development Authority 7, said that in April 2020, around 41,000 workers were affected by temporary workplace closures and another 34,000 were affected by permanent closures.

Another 82,000 workers were also affected by the imposition of flexible working arrangements, which included reduced working days, reduced employees and forced time off.

Carreon said the pandemic and the level of community quarantine have resulted in high unemployment rates of 16.7% across the region.

Sectors that have suffered severely during the pandemic include tourism, accommodation and alignment services; and transportation, Carreon said.

After the government relaxed community quarantine status in the region, some businesses were able to resume operations.

Alfanta said that when some businesses were able to open in July 2020, the employment rate for Central Visayas jumped to 88.3%.

After that, the region’s employment rate continued to rise and was able to reach 90.1% in October 2020, Alfanta said.

Alfanta hopes that this year, Central Visayas will produce more goods and services than it produced last year.

To keep this improving continuously, Carreon said the government continues to urge companies to improve their preventive measures against Covid-19.

Carreon said the national government continues to reiterate these warnings because it does not want business establishments to be transmission routes for Covid-19.

Once businesses become centers of transmission for Covid-19, it could mean shutdowns, which could also affect workers and consumer consumption, Carreon said.

To prevent this, the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry have issued common guidelines for business establishments to follow to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 in the workplace. (KFD)