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SWS survey among adult Filipinos reveals 45.5% are jobless

Joblessness among adult Filipinos has reached a record high at 45.5 percent, half of which lost their jobs amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis, the recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.


In the survey conducted from July 3 to 6 among 1,555 respondents, unemployment rose by 28 points from 17.5 percent in December 2019, and a new record-high since the 34.4 percent in March 2012.

SWS said that the estimated numbers of jobless adults were 27.3 million in July 2020 and 7.9 million in December 2019.

The July 2020 Survey found the adult Labor Force Participation Rate is at 86.4 percent for an estimated 60 million adults. This used to be 68.7 percent in December 2019 for an estimated 45.5 million adults.

Jobless were defined as those who voluntarily left their old jobs, are seeking jobs for the first time, or lost their jobs due to economic circumstances beyond their control.

The survey found that one out of five or 21 percent of adult Filipinos – or half of the 42 percent with no job/livelihood at the time of the interview – lost their job/livelihood during the COVID-19 crisis. The other 21 percent lost their job/livelihood before the crisis.

The rest either had a job/livelihood at the time of the interview at 47 percent or never had a job/livelihood before at 11 percent.

The proportion of those who lost their job/livelihood during the Covid-19 crisis is slightly higher in urban areas at 23 percent than in rural areas at 18 percent.

It is highest in Balance Luzon at 23 percent, followed by the Visayas at 19 percent, Mindanao at 19 percent, and Metro Manila 18 percent.

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

Data were gathered through mobile phone interviews of adult Filipinos 18 years old and above, randomly drawn from a database of mobile phone numbers compiled from SWS national and subnational representative face-to-face surveys since 2017.

SWS maintains the sampling error margins of ±2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, and ±5% for Balance Luzon, ±5% Visayas, and ±5% in Mindanao.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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