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NEWS UPDATES 23 August  2010

Philippine employment outlook high

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THE Philippine central bank said the employment outlook for the coming quarter hit a record high on the back of sustained confidence in the economy.

In its latest Business Expectation Survey, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the employment outlook index reached 24 percent from 19.9 percent in the previous quarter.

Rosabel Guerrero, BSP-Department of Economic Statistic director, said that except for the electricity, gas and water sub-sector, favorable employment prospects were anticipated across all other sectors, as companies gear up for expected strong demand in the fourth quarter leading to the Christmas season.

She said that more firms also indicated expansion plans, with the index reaching 27 percent from 23 percent during the last quarter under review. This was consistent with the positive outlook of the industry sector, with the mining and quarrying sub-sector recording the highest year-on-year growth of 45 percent from 13 percent in the same quarter last year.

However, these companies have cited key challenges to their business activities such as competition, weak demand leading to low sales volume and financial problems.

The survey also showed that financial conditions improved but remained tight as the index stayed at -2.6 percent from -5 percent in the previous quarter, and -17.4 percent last year.

Guerrero noted that these business constraints were the same risks identified by the respondents since the first quarter of 2009.

The BSP noted that credit access continued to improve in the third quarter, as 10.1 percent of the firms surveyed reported greater access to credit compared with the situation prevailing in the previous quarter and last year.

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