Economy likely grew by 6.2 percent in Q4

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star
Economy likely grew by 6.2 percent in Q4
Photo show the skyscrapers of the Ortigas Center in the central business district as seen from Pasig City on January 9, 2024 afternoon.
Michael Varcas / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine economy likely posted a faster growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2023 than in the third quarter, supported by gains in the labor market, according to an economist.

University of Asia and the Pacific economist Victor Abola told reporters his gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for the fourth quarter of 2023 is 6.2 percent.

This forecast is higher than the 5.9 percent growth in the third quarter last year.

Abola said growth in the fourth quarter last year was supported by the increase in employment numbers.

“Look at employment, October, November, these are very high,” he said.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed the country’s employment rate in November 2023 was at 96.4 percent, up from 95.8 percent in October 2023 and 95.8 percent in November 2022.

PSA chief Dennis Mapa said earlier the November employment rate is the highest since April 2005.

In terms of magnitude, the number of employed individuals rose to 49.64 million in November 2023 from 47.80 million in October 2023.

Abola said the number of employed individuals in November last year is the second highest, only beaten slightly by the 49.71 million employment level in November 2022.

Mapa said earlier the fourth quarter is when employment levels pick up due to increased economic activity during the holiday season.

For full-year 2023, Abola’s GDP growth forecast is 5.5 percent, below the government’s six to seven percent growth target for that year.

The economy posted 5.5 percent growth in the January to September period of 2023.

Earlier, National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said the economy needs to grow by 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter of last year to attain the low end of the growth goal for 2023.

The PSA will release data on the country’s full year 2023 and fourth quarter economic performance on Jan. 31.

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