First quarter employment outlook continues decline

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The employment outlook for the country continues to be favorable although slower for the first quarter of 2014, according to the Business Expectations Survey (BES) of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).

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From the 31.7 percent in the last quarter of 2013, the employment outlook index slowed down to 23.6 percent for the first quarter of 2014.

“By sector, the employment outlook of the construction sector was broadly steady for Q1 [first quarter]2014, while that of the services, industry, wholesale and retail trade sectors declined,” the survey stated.

The BES also noted that firms that expected tighter financial conditions continued to outnumber those that said otherwise, but the number that said so declined relative to that in the previous quarter.

“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,” it said.

However, a number of respondents indicated that their financial conditions were affected by problems in the collection of accounts receivables, the survey said.

Furthermore, the BES showed that the business sentiment of the industry sector was less buoyant, as the number of firms with expansion plans also went down for the next quarter.

The percentage of businesses with expansion plans decreased to 30.5 percent for the first quarter of 2014 quarter from 32.1 percent.

“Across sub-sectors, mining, quarrying and electricity, gas and water recorded the most robust expansion plans but agriculture, fishery, forestry and manufacturing sub-sectors pulled down the overall expansion outlook of the industry sector,” it added.

On the other hand, the survey said that domestic competition and insufficient demand remain to be the major challenges to business for the fourth quarter of 2013.

“However, the percentage of businesses that identified the above-mentioned constraints continued to show a declining trend. The easing of these business constraints could indicate that business conditions are improving,” it said.

BES is a quarterly survey of firms drawn at random from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s top 7,000 Corporations in 2010. The fourth quarter BES was conducted during the period of October 1 to November 11, 2013. There were 1,550 firms surveyed nationwide.

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