The labor force participation rate or people actively looking for jobs was at 58.7% in October, the second lowest since 2005. While start of schooling partly explained the dip, with students formerly searching for jobs exiting the workforce, there was also low enrollment.
National Statistician Claire Dennis Mapa admitted this may not be the sole factor.
Mapa noted, “We notice there is a significant decrease in labor force whenever there is school opening, but the reduction here is quite large to account for such. We will have to look at it closely.”
On top of students, the National Economic and Development Authority said parents may have quit their jobs to “accompany younger children in blended learning from home.”
Another likely reason would be digital investments by firms that essentially killed some jobs. Regardless of reason, a lower labor force across all regions depicts the long road ahead to rebuilding both business and consumer confidence.