CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga — Central Luzon recorded an overall unemployment rate of 8.7 percent during the first quarter of 2021.
This is positively lower than the 13.1% during the same period last year.
In a radio interview, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Director Geraldine Panlilio said the rate has improved from the 2020 figure which is too high for Central Luzon.
The unemployment rate is expected because of the closing of many establishments.
In addition, DOLE Central Luzon logged only 51 establishments closed permanently in the first quarter of 2021 from 247 in the same period last year.
“As expected, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the businesses struggled. Few companies have closed, others laid off their workers so the employees are really affected. Others implemented flexible work arrangements so their working hours are lessened, lowering their employees’ take-home pays,” Panlilio explained.
She disclosed that 1,156 establishments are adapting flexible working arrangements, affecting 43,572 workers from January to March 2021.
Also, DOLE Region 3 recognized that businesses are gradually going back to normal in cognizance of the approximately 7,000 establishments with 262,000 workers which shifted to flexible working schemes in 2020.
“For these establishments, it is either they compressed or reduced their number of working days or working hours, retrenched, or laid off temporarily. That is what we have seen as an effect of the pandemic in 2021,” Panlilio mentioned.
The official clarified that the data came from reports received by the agency and are subject to change during inspections in companies or in coordination with local government units and economic zones.
Meanwhile, on top of the routine inspections, DOLE teamed-up with other agencies for the issuance of safety seal to establishments adhering to the standard health protocols against COVID-19.
“Sometimes, people are afraid to enter an establishment thinking that they might contract the virus. With the safety seal, people will know that all health and safety protocols are being followed by these establishments. This could help encourage people to avail the services of the businesses,” Panlilio explained.
DOLE Central Luzon has monitored 961 establishments covering 43,974 workers; and 937 of these are complying to the health and safety protocols.