The Jakarta Post
The number of unemployed people across the country increased slightly to 6.88 million in February, Statistics Indonesia (BPS) data reveals, although this number does not reflect the impact the COVID-19 outbreak has had on the economy.
The figure was 60,000, or 0.8 percent, higher than the 6.82 million unemployed people recorded in the same period last year, BPS data also show.
“This is relatively flat despite an increase in the unemployment rate in tourism-focused regions,” BPS head Suhariyanto said during a press briefing on Tuesday, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic had taken a toll on tourism since February.
In April alone, Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI) data show that 1,642 hotels were temporarily closed, while Tourism Ministry data reveal that more than 1.7 million workers in the sector have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, Indonesia’s open unemployment rate dropped slightly to 4.99 percent in February from 5.01 percent recorded in the same month last year.
Suhariyanto said the informal sector remained an important part of the country’s workforce, accounting for 56.5 percent of nationwide employment in February, despite a 0.77 percentage point decline year-on-year (yoy).
The BPS data also showed that education and healthcare sectors, among other sectors, hired the most people in February this year.
“Meanwhile, jobs in several sectors including agriculture, trade and other services declined this year,” he said.
The unemployment data has yet to reflect the overall impact of the pandemic, Suhariyanto said, as the large-scale social restrictions implemented by regional and local administrations to curb the spread of the virus took effect in April.
These measures have upended the job market, with 2.8 million people losing their jobs, according to the Manpower Ministry and the Workers Social Security Agency (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan).
The government predicts that 2.9 million to 5.2 million workers could lose their jobs during the outbreak, which would erase last year’s gains of 2.5 million new jobs.