The transport sector remains a key employment generator (DOLE, 2020), with over 3.05 million employed persons recorded in August 2021, accounting for 12.4% of the total employment in the services sector or 6.9% of the total employment in the country (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2021a). On the contrary, according to the 2018 Census of Philippine Business and Industry (CPBI) on the transportation and storage section, the industry has 3,377 establishments employing a total of 206,024 workers, majority of which are engaged in support activities for transportation (PSA, 2021b). As CBPI is based on the 2009 Philippine Standard Industry Classification, data is confined to the numbers of workers in the formal sectors, which explains how the transport sector is largely informal. Table 1 shows the number of employed persons in the transport sector year-on-year from 2018 to 2021.
In retrospect, from 2012 to 2018, the total employment of the transport sector has substantially increased by 38% while the number of transport establishments grew by 45.1% (PSA, 2021b). The following year, overall employment of the sector reached almost 3.5 million. However, it experienced a significant dip as the country experienced the adverse socio-economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which recorded a decrease in total employment by more than 500 thousand by the end of 2020 (PSA, 2021c and 2021d). With the implementation of several lockdowns in 2021 within the country, the total employment failed to have sustained recovery from its drop in the previous year and continued to plateau until July 2021. However, as more and more people are getting inoculated and movement restrictions are now targeted, worker and business confidence is expected to increase which will usher in new and sustained employment opportunities for the sector.
Researcher: Carl Sean E. Pablico