After four months in office, the Marcos administration appears to have made big strides in resuscitating the economy.
The National Economic and Development Authority has reported that the Philippine economy grew by 7.6 percent in Q3 2022, faster than the 7.5 percent expansion in Q2 2022 and the 7.0 percent growth rate in Q3 2021.
Among the major emerging economies in the Southeast Asian region, the Philippines ranked second to Vietnam (13.7 percent).
The economy therefore remains on track in achieving the government’s growth target of 6.5 to 7.5 percent for this year.
Given the 7.7 percent growth rate for the first three quarters, the economy needs to grow by 3.3 to 6.9 percent in Q4 2022 to meet this year’s target.
Another encouraging sign of economic recovery is that all sectors have sustained their expansion.
The services and industry sectors grew by 9.1 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.
The agriculture sector also grew by 2.2 percent, up from a 1.7 percent decline in the same period last year.
Most sectors have already returned to their pre-pandemic output levels.
NEDA also said domestic demand remained robust with a 9.5 percent growth, driven by the accelerated growth in household consumption (8.0 percent in Q3 2022 from 7.1 percent in Q3 2021) and investments (21.7 percent from 20.8 percent).
Earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority also reported a modest 5 percent increase in the number of employed Filipinos as of the end of September.
The resumption of economic activities allowed an additional 2.2 million Filipinos to join the workforce, raising the country’s labor force participation rate to 65.2 percent in September 2022 from 63.3 percent year-on-year.
This accelerated the employment rate to 95 percent in September this year, the highest recorded rate since January 2020.
The lifting of quarantine restrictions translated to employment creation of 4 million year-on-year, bringing the total employment to 47.6 million as of the third quarter.
Amid high inflation, the Department of Labor and Employment has ordered the regional wage boards to determine whether another round of increase for the country’s 4 million minimum wage earners could be imposed next year to cushion the impact of soaring prices of food and other basic commodities.
Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma noted that wage adjustments could be made only once a year, but said the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Boards were already assessing the factors, such as the recent typhoons, the ongoing pandemic and high inflation that could merit another pay increase for workers.
All this shows that efforts by the national government to accelerate economic recovery are gaining ground.
If this trend continues, then Filipinos can look forward to much improved living conditions in the coming months.