The Philippines economy grew by only 5.6% in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Philippines Statistics Office (PSA), its worst quarterly performance since 2015. Analysts are expecting a rebound in the second quarter, however. “Despite the sub-six percent economic growth for the … quarter, the growth in major industries’ gross revenues reflect an improved economic environment amid tapering consumer prices during the period,” said Security Bank chief economist Robert Dan J. Roces. “Services, tied with better consumption, remain a major driver in industry especially BPOs (business process outsourcing), which provides a steady stream of employment and wage growth.”
Of significance to the outsourcing sector is that compensation growth increased to 4.6% during the period from 3.3% in the first quarter of 2018. On a per employee basis, compensation grew 2.9%, up from 2.0% last year. Preliminary results of the PSA’s April 2019 round of the Labor Force Survey shows the labor marketing tightening. It estimates the employment rate at 5.1%, down from the 5.5% rate given in the same survey last year. The underemployment rate – the proportion of those working, but looking for more work – decreased to 13.5% from 17% a year ago.