4th quarter employment outlook jumps 31.7% — BSP

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The employment outlook index for the fourth quarter of the year jumped to 31.7 percent from 24.1 percent last quarter, the Business Expectations Survey (BES) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

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Construction companies were the most optimistic in their employment outlook for the next quarter, according to the BES.

The services and wholesale and retail trade sectors were “likewise upbeat, while that of industry remained steady,” the survey said

It also noted that firms expect easier access to credit but tighter financial conditions.

“Firms were of the view that their liquidity requirements could be met through available credit as more respondents continued to report easy access to credit compared to those that said otherwise,” the survey said.

However, firms that expected tighter financial conditions outnumbered those that said otherwise, as the financial conditions index reverted to negative territory at -1.9 percent in third quarter.

The BES also showed that the number of firms planning to expand went up in line with the more favorable business sentiment of the industry sector for the next quarter.

It said that the percentage of businesses with expansion plans increased to 32.1 percent for the fourth quarter from 28.7 percent.

“Businesses in the industry sector turned more optimistic for the fourth quarter as they expect full recovery of agriculture from past typhoons and an increase in the supply of raw materials inputs for industrial production,” it stated.

However, the survey said competition and weak demand remain to be major challenges.

It said that the top business constraints identified by respondents in the third quarter of 2013 continued to be domestic competition and insufficient demand.

The BES is a quarterly survey of firms drawn at random from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s top 7,000 Corporations in 2010.

BSP said the survey results “provide advance indication of the direction of the change in the overall business activity in the economy and in the various measures of companies’ operations as well as in economic indicators.”

MAYVELIN U. CARABALLO

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