WITH the confidence of businesses waning, the jobs outlook has become less desirable in the next 12 months, latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) shows.
Based on the Business Expectation Survey (BES) of the BSP, business sentiment was less optimistic at 46.4 percent for the third quarter from 49 percent last year.
Given this, employment prospects for the next 12 months declined to 30 percent in the third quarter of 2023 from 36.4 percent in the previous quarter.
“The major business risks for Q2 [the second quarter of] 2023 as identified by the respondents were stiff domestic competition (55.7 percent of respondents); insufficient demand (33.1 percent); and high interest rate (27.8 percent),” the BES reported.
“The number of firms that cited Covid-19 as a limiting factor to their business activity significantly declined to 16 in the current quarter from 394 in Q3 (third quarter) 2020,” it added.
However, BES data showed the employment outlook index increased to 17.9 percent for the third quarter of 2023 from 13.4 percent in the first quarter 2023 survey results.
“The higher reading in Q2 (second quarter) 2023 suggests that hiring intentions may be more favorable for the next quarter,” BSP said.
Meanwhile, consumers said they do not intend to make any big-ticket purchases, except for housing, in the next 12 months.
Based on the Consumer Expectation Survey (CES), BSP data showed consumer sentiment on buying big-ticket items for the next 12 months remained pessimistic at minus 75.2 percent from minus 74.9 percent in the first quarter of 2023.
“The steady outlook on buying intentions for the next 12 months was reflected across all big-ticket items and for both the NCR (National Capital Region) and AONCR (Areas outside NCR),” the report stated.
However, the percentage of households that plan to buy/acquire real property within the next 12 months edged up to 4.7 percent from 4.6 percent in the first quarter 2023 survey results.
“In particular, a higher percentage of households plan to acquire single-detached houses and agricultural lots compared to the previous quarter,” the BSP said.
When asked about the price range of real properties they intend to purchase in the next 12 months, BSP data showed the majority, or 59 percent, of the households, indicated a range of P450,000 and below.
The data also showed 27.7 percent and 13.3 percent of households plan to buy a house and/or lot worth P450,001 to P1.7 million and P1,700,001 and above, respectively.
Meanwhile, savings among consumers, from across all income groups, declined in the second quarter of 2023.
BSP data showed the percentage of households with savings decreased to 30.2 percent from 32.9 percent in the first quarter of 2023.
Among those who saved, these funds were set aside for emergencies, health and medical expenses, retirement, education, house purchase, and business capital and investment.
Among savers, the BSP data showed, 76.9 percent kept their savings in a bank, a decline from 82.8 percent in the first quarter of 2023.
The CES reported that 59.7 percent of Filipinos kept their savings at home and 39.9 percent considered other institutions such as cooperatives, paluwagan (unfettered lending), credit/loan associations, investments and other institutions for the safekeeping of their savings.
The percentage of respondents who could set aside money for savings in the second quarter of 2023 decreased to 31.6 percent from 34 percent in the first quarter of 2023.
Among households that could save, BSP data showed 31.7 percent said that they would save at least 10 percent of their monthly gross family income for savings, down from 35.2 percent a quarter ago.
The data showed 68.3 percent said that they would set aside less than 10 percent for their savings, up from 64.8 percent in the first quarter of 2023.
Image credits: Nonie Reyes