Local businesses are planning to expand their operations and employ more workers in the fourth quarter of the year, the latest central bank business survey showed.
The percentage of industrial firms with expansion plans for the quarter ahead has increased, with the confidence index (CI) of such companies up at 32.9 percent from 29.1 percent in the preceding quarter, according to the results of the third-quarter Business Expectations Survey (BES) released last week by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).
The confidence index is calculated as the net of the percentage of companies that answered in the affirmative and the percentage of firms that answered in the negative with respect to their views on a given indicator.
Among the sub-sectors included in the survey, agriculture, fishery and forestry recorded the strongest expansion plans, with a CI of 46.7 percent.
It was followed by electricity, gas and water, with 41.2 percent; mining and quarrying with 36.1 percent; and manufacturing with 31.5 percent.
Given such indications, the employment outlook index for the fourth quarter rose to 22.3 percent from 20.7 percent in the preceding quarter.
“This indicates expectations of an overall increase in the number of new employees to be hired for the fourth quarter of the year,” it said.
The employment outlook is consistent with the upbeat business sentiment for the fourth quarter of 2015, which climbed to 53.1 percent from 47.3 percent in the preceding quarter, as shown by the survey.
Respondents said their optimism may be attributed to the usual pickup in consumer demand during the year-end holidays, as well as the harvest and milling activities.
They also cited other factors for the upbeat sentiment, such as higher sales and orders that spur an increase in production volume; business expansion in retail trade, manufacturing, finance and business process outsourcing services; new and improved procedures and methods that increase agriculture output; opening of high seas/fishing operations in October; steady flow of overseas Filipinos’ remittances during the holiday season; and election-related spending for the 2016 national polls.
“The respondents also said the prevailing favorable macroeconomic conditions boosted their business confidence for the next quarter,” the survey note added.
The BES is a quarterly survey of firms drawn at random from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s top 7,000 corporations ranked in 2010 and Business World’s Top 1000 Corporations in 2012.
The survey was conducted between July 1 and August 17 among 1,516 firms nationwide.