Filipinos, with more work, turn more bullish

By Julian Ocampo

MANILA, Philippines — More Filipinos secured more hours of work, contributing to a more positive outlook in consumption at the start of the second quarter, separate government reports showed on Friday.

According to Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), the country’s jobless rate fell to 5.7 percent in April from 6.1 percent in the same period last year.
However, the figure was a result of more people leaving the labor force than actual jobs created with the number of employed actually going down year-on-year.
Specifically, only 61.4 percent of people 15 years and above are actively looking for work, down from 63.5 percent. The number of Filipinos with jobs fell to 40.27 million from 40.66 million.
A better picture, nonetheless, could be noted for the underemployed or those working less than 40 hours a day and are seeking more job.
Their rate dropped to 16.1 from 18.3 percent, the lowest in 10 years, according to the National Economic and Development Authority.
“We can further enhance current programs like the Government Internship Program and JobStart Philippines to help workers make informed career decisions and acquire skills necessary in today’s competitive environment,” Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said in a statement.
More work hours have led to a more positive consumer outlook from April to June, according to the central bank’s Consumer Expectations Survey (CES).
The consumer confidence index rose to a record-high of 13.1 percent, signaling optimists continued to outnumber pessimists.
Aside from availability of more jobs, consumers cited higher salaries, stronger business activity, effective state policies and better peace and order situation for their better outlook.
“Their more positive outlook was also boosted by the assistance from government, expected higher overseas Filipino remittances and anticipated good harvest,” the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in a separate statement.
For the next quarter however, the index turned less bullish to 13.6 from 16.5 percent.
“Respondents’ less favorable outlook…stemmed from concerns about increase in prices of goods, expectations of higher expenses for their children’s education… and lower income or no increase in income,” BSP said.
The labor data comes from the quarterly Labor Force Survey conducted by the PSA among 41,000 households nationwide.
Meanwhile, BSP collated the second quarter CES from a total of 5,631 households from April 1 to 12.
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