Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello bared Tuesday that 2,068 companies nationwide have closed resulting in 69,022 workers being jobless from January 2020 up to the present due mainly to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Ninety one (91) percent of the businesses or 1,875 companies reduced their workforce , while 9 percent or 193 companies reported permanent closure.

The 193 firms that closed left 5,119 workers jobless while the 1,875 companies that opted for retrenchment affected 63,903 workers.

According to the Labor Department, the month of June had the highest number of businesses reporting closure or retrenchment at 688 leaving 14,894 jobless. The month of February followed with 371 companies reporting affecting 30,712 workers.

The National Capital Region (NCR) leads the region with the most number of affected workers with 36,036; followed by CALABARZON with 14,206; Central Luzon (5,113); Cordillera Administrative Region (5,023); Ilocos Region (1,945); Central Visayas (1,929); Northern Mindanao (1,172); Eastern Visayas (874); Davao Region (745); Western Visayas (495); CARAGA (400); Cagayan Valley (345); Bicol Region (300); Soccsksargen (246); MIMAROPA (188); and Zamboanga Peninsula (5).

In terms of industry group, the administrative and support service (25,634) and the manufacturing sector (8,400) had the most number of displaced workers.

Meanwhile, Bello reported that around 321,000 Filipino workers abroad were also displaced because of the pandemic, 191,000 of which do not want to go back to the Philippines

Official data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that unemployment in the country soared to a record 17.7 percent, raising the total number of jobless Filipinos to 7.3 million for the first quarter of the year.  (Rommel F. Lopez)