By Melissa Luz T. Lopez, Reporter

Building, retail hiring plans ease amid overall optimism, BSP says

Posted on December 07, 2015

FEWER COMPANIES are to likely hire new employees in the next three months, results of the central bank’s Business Expectations Survey (BES) showed, but steady expansion plans may be expected particularly from the manufacturing sector.

Job seekers look at listings during an employment fair. -- BW File Photo
The quarterly survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) bared an employment outlook index of 19.5%, lower than the 22.3% seen in the third quarter, which may signal sustained but slower hiring among private firms.

“This indicates that more firms will continue to hire new employees than those that said otherwise, although the number of new hires could decrease compared to the previous quarter’s survey,” the BSP said of the results of the fourth quarter BES conducted in October to November 2015.

“Among the sectors, firms in the construction and retail trade sectors were less optimistic while those in the industry and services sectors were steady in their hiring intentions.”

The survey of 1,514 firms saw a two-year high in terms of overall optimism among private businesses in terms of their economic prospects in the Philippines, logging an overall score of 51.3% for the October-December period against a 41.4% rating seen in the third quarter on the back of stronger domestic demand.

Among the main factors cited by respondent firms for their more bullish outlook were an expected increase in consumer demand during the Christmas, main rice harvest and milling seasons; the steady flow of remittances from overseas Filipino workers; and election-related spending ahead of the May 9, 2016 presidential elections.

Meanwhile, companies with plans to expand their operations remained steady at 31.9%, coming from a 32.9% tallied in the previous quarter.

“Moreover, the percentage of businesses with expansion plans in the industry sector for Q1 2016 was broadly unchanged at 31.9%. This was largely driven by the steady outlook of the manufacturing sub-sector,” the BSP said.

However, firms engaged in mining and quarrying, utilities, and agriculture saw declines in terms of those saying they have expansion plans in the short term.

Most companies, however, said they are more optimistic of greater business activity for the last three months of the year, rising to 46.5% from 39% previously. The central bank said firms are generally more “upbeat” about their business operations for the quarter, though less so for the first three months of 2016.