BUSINESSES across the country look to hiring more employees—not just for the July-to-September period, but in the final three months—as the entire archipelago ramps up preparations for the Christmas holidays.
This was indicated in latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showing significant improvement in the employment outlook index, which lifted from 20.7 percent to 22.3 percent in the October-to-December period.
“This indicates expectations of an overall increase in the number of new employees to be hired for the fourth quarter of the year,” the BSP said.
This developed even as the number of industrial companies with expansion plans for the period rose from 29.1 percent to 32.9 percent.
According to the BSP, the various businesses anticipate better financial conditions and greater access to financing not just for now but in the waning months of the year, as well.
“Firms that expected better financial conditions outnumbered those that said otherwise during the quarter. Firms were also of the view that their financing requirements could be met through available credit, as respondents who reported easy access to credit exceeded those that said otherwise. Notably, the number that said so also increased compared to that a quarter ago,” the BSP said.
The employment index is computed as the percentage of firms optimistic about added employment and expansion plans minus the percentage of firms whichindicated otherwise.
A higher index means that the number of firms wanting to expand and hire more employees are in lockstep with positive economic developments. “Among subsectors, agriculture, fishery and forestry recorded the strongest expansion plans, followed by electricity, gas and water, mining and quarrying, and manufacturing,” the BSP said.
Meanwhile, the major business constraints identified by the businesses in the months of July to September were domestic competition and insufficient demand leading to low sales volume. The BSP survey also showed that more respondents expected inflation to increase compared to those who said otherwise for the current and next quarters.
However, businesses expected that the rate of increase in commodity prices was likely to remain low and within the 2-percent to 4-percent target range in 2015, at 2.7 percent for the third quarter of 2015 and 2.9 percent for the fourth quarter of 2015 (compared to 3.2 percent and 3.4 percent in the previous quarter’s survey results, respectively).
Meanwhile, more respondents expected the peso to appreciate than those who said otherwise for the third quarter and the fourth quarter of 2015.