MALACAÑANG is confident the country’s employment rate will rebound during the first quarter of the year as the government eases the Alert Level in the National Capital Region (NCR) and other parts of the country.
Acting Presidential spokesman Karlo B. Nograles issued the statement after the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday that the unemployment rate in December rose to 6.6 percent compared to 6.5 percent the month before.
“With the easing [of restrictions] up in February, we expect, bottom line, more of our citizens will be going back to the labor force,” Nograles said.
He said the increase in unemployment rate in the said month was actually a sign that more workers were finally returning to the labor market.
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III attributed the higher labor force participation rate in December to the increased economic activities brought about by the holidays and the Alert Level 2 which was imposed in many parts of the country.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) hoisted an Alert Level 3 in NCR and other parts of the country last month amid the surge in Covid-19 infections, triggering the closure of more establishments brought about by local spread of the Omicron variant.
It only started downgrading the Alert Levels in the said areas, including NCR, this month as Covid-19 cases finally started to decline allowing more businesses to resume operations.
Nograles said the reopening of the country to foreign tourists on Thursday will help bring back more workers not only in the tourism sector, but also to other sectors, which depend on it such as food and transportation.
“We will be able to bring economic growth and development since we will be able to revive the tourism industry and all other industries are dependent on it,” Nograles said.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes