Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz yesterday said she is optimistic about the National Economic and Development Authority’s positive projection on increased quality employment in the fourth quarter of the year, saying the labor market is poised to maximize end-of-the-year opportunities brought by consumer and government spending and sustained industrial peace.
“We come to the last quarter of the year with low inflation, improving consumer sentiment, higher inflows of OFW remittances, and a peaceful industrial front. We see increased consumer spending because of the holiday season and that could create more jobs with factories building up stocks of goods for the quarter. This is usually the same every year,” said Baldoz.
She cited the latest consumer expectations survey of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showing that consumer sentiment improved in the third quarter due to availability of more jobs, higher family income owing to stronger business activity, lower debt payments, and increase in OFW remittances both in US dollar and Philippine pesos.
According to the BSP, US dollar remittances of OFWs increased by 1.4 percent in the third quarter, while peso remittances rose by 6.7 percent.
Among the economic sectors, Baldoz said services could create the most number of jobs in the fourth quarter because the sector is expected to continue its growth posted in the third quarter. Services grew by 7.3 percent in the third quarter of 2015.
“I support the NEDA’s projection that services – transportation, communication, and storage will post gains, especially with the associated seasonal jobs in the last quarter of the year. Tourism, Real estate, renting, and financial inter-mediation will likewise be bolstered by expansion in IT business process management sub-sector,” she said.
Baldoz said she is also optimistic about the employment contribution of the industry sector, led by construction, utilities, and manufacturing.
The NEDA reported that manufacturing only slightly improved in the third quarter, but said the country could benefit from the relocation of labor-intensive manufacturing to ASEAN member-states which has been taking place since 2013 on account of rising wages in China.
Finally, Baldoz said she shares the NEDA’s optimism that the country can already reap a demographic dividend from the rising share of a relatively young population who are joining the labor force.
“We need to maximize the benefits from this demographic window, invest more in our human capital, and continue to create an environment conducive for investment to create more high quality employment,” she said.