Filipino Youth Bears Brunt of Philippines’ Unemployment Pains


Employment prospects for Filipino youth remain bleak as pandemic-hit companies freeze hiring and choose experienced workers for fewer jobs.

Youth unemployment rate was 22.4% in July, when new graduates would typically enter the workforce, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. That’s more than double the overall 10% jobless ratio and compares with 14.7% a year ago. It was at 31.6% in April.

There were 1.7 million Filipinos age 15 to 24 years old without work in July, up 55% from a year ago. About 149,000 Filipino youth joined the labor force in that period.

The capital region, which accounts for more than a third of the economy, registered the worst youth jobless rate at 32.1%. Manila and surrounds, the nation’s virus epicenter, have been subject to among the world’s strictest lockdowns that shut most businesses and required anyone below 21 years old to stay at home.

Here’s what analysts say:

Robert Dan Roces, chief economist at Security Bank Corp. in Manila

  • “This is a hallmark of extreme economic downturns where premium is put on more seasoned workers in the meantime”
  • Youth employment will likely be slower to bounce back, as businesses gradually recover from the lockdown

Michael Ricafort, chief economist at Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. in Manila

  • New graduates are competing for fewer jobs, as businesses layoff workers and freeze hiring
  • A bright spot could be a possible increase in foreign companies outsourcing work to the Philippines to cut costs

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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