The number of firms in the country planning to hire new workers declined as they were also less upbeat about their expansion plans for the fourth quarter of 2019, a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) survey found.
Results of the recently released Business Expectation Survey (BES) put the confidence index (CI) of companies with expansion plans at 30.4 percent, down from 33.5 percent in the previous quarter.
The CI is calculated as the net of percentage of companies that replied in the affirmative and the percentage of firms that answered otherwise on their views about a given indicator.
“Weaker expansion plans were recorded across the industry sub-sectors,” the BSP said.
Survey results also showed the employment outlook index remained positive although lower at 19.6 percent compared to the last quarter’s survey at 26 percent.
“This suggests that more firms will continue to hire new employees, although the number that said so are lower compared to the previous quarter’s survey,” the BSP said.
“Employment prospects were generally expected to moderate across sectors, except for the wholesale and retail trade sector, which was higher,” it added.
The employment outlook is contrary with the optimistic overall business sentiment for October to December.
Firms were more upbeat for the next three months, with the index rising to 56.1 percent from 47.6 percent three months earlier.
“Respondents’ more positive outlook for Q4 2019 was due to expectations of: a) higher consumer demand during the holiday and harvest seasons, b) continued increases in orders and projects, c) more favorable macroeconomic conditions (i.e., lower inflation, stable exchange rate and lower interest rate), d) higher government spending/infrastructure and e) business expansion,” the BSP said.
The latest BES, which polled 1,487 companies nationwide, was conducted from July 10 to September 10. Its results are considered indicative of the direction of overall business activity.