Malacañang is unwavering in its optimism that the economy will fare better in the coming months even as it cited the slight improvement in the latest unemployment data.
The labor office reported that the unemployment rate in April was at 7 percent compared with 7.5 percent recorded in April 2013.
Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. also said that even the underemployment rate improved to 18.2 percent in April 2014. Compared to year-ago levels the underemployment rate was 19.2 percent.
“These positive indicators bode well for a higher GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate in the succeeding quarters,” Coloma told reporters.
The Palace’s optimistic statement comes at the heels of reports that the economy slowed down to 5.7 percent in the first three months of the year from a high 7.7 percent during the same period in 2013.
First quarter GDP was the slowest in two years and officials said this is due to disruptions caused by super typhoon Yolanda.
The Philippines has fallen to third place in Asia’s growth race, behind Malaysia, which achieved economic growth of 6.2 percent in the January to March period, and China, which grew 7.4 percent.
The National Economic Development Authority (Neda) traced the slowdown to the damage on production capacities and disruption to agricultural supplies caused by the super typhoon that lashed Eastern Visayas in the central Philippines in November last year.
But Coloma insisted that the improved employment figures signified an improved economic performance in the coming months.
Neda reported that the improvement translates to about a total of 1.7 million in additional employed persons. According to Neda chief Arsenio Balisacan, the improvement in employment is broad-based, covering agriculture, industry, and the services sectors.