The Filipino expats making a return after the pandemic struck will add to worries about growing unemployment. Image Credit: Gulf News Archive

Manila: 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 per cent in July, when new graduates would typically enter the workforce, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.

That's more than double the overall 10 per cent jobless ratio and compares with 14.7 per cent a year ago. It was at 31.6 per cent in April. There were 1.7 million Filipinos age 15 to 24 years old without work in July, up 55 per cent from a year ago. About 149,000 Filipino youth joined the labor force in that period.

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The capital region, which accounts for more than a third of the economy, registered the worst youth jobless rate at 32.1 per cent. 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.