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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        21  March 2011

Philippines hopes to create a million jobs

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The Aquino administration plans to create a million jobs a year and to triple per capita income through higher economic growth and infrastructure investment in the next six years.

Under the draft Medium Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) for 2011 to 2016, the government expects gross domestic product (GDP) growth to average 7 percent to 8 percent a year, sustaining last year’s 34-year record of 7.3 percent expansion.

Despite faster growth, inflation is expected to settle between 3 and 5 percent until 2014. The blueprint set no targets for 2015 to 2016.

Merchandise exports are forecast to grow 13 percent this year and in 2012 before increasing to an annual rate of 14 percent between 2013 and 2016.

By the end of the plan period, merchandise exports should hit $92 billion.

Imports are projected to grow 18 percent this year and 17 percent from 2012 to 2016.

Given this growth scenario, the Philippine economy would create an average of a million new jobs a year, primarily in the industry and services sectors, with the agriculture sector remaining a net shedder of jobs.

Of the six million jobs target over the plan period, two million will be in the micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) sector.

The plan also aims for 7.7 million tourism jobs by the end of the plan period, and a doubling of visitor arrivals from three million in 2009 to 6.3 million by 2016, with tourism receipts hitting $4.5 billion.

“If the labor force grows at 2.75 percent annually, the unemployment rate should hover at 6.8 percent to 7.2 percent in the plan period, although it should be noted these numbers do not factor in possible reversals in overseas migration trends as more domestic jobs are created,” the draft MTPDP read.

As of January this year, the unemployment rate stood at 7.4 percent, up from a year ago’s 7.3 percent.

The blueprint also showed that the 7 percent to 8 percent GDP growth target each year would imply a tripling of per capita income to about $5,000 in two decades.

According to the blueprint, sustaining growth in later years will require even higher investment ratios reaching 22 percent by 2016, with the government approving a total investment of P3.796 trillion by then.

As of 2009, the country’s poverty incidence had risen to 26.5 percent from the 2006 level of 26.4 percent.

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