ADB: PH facing fragile recovery as number of jobless, poor rise



Economic recovery in the near term will be slow—one that will chart the U-shape—as the country reels from the impact of the lockdown during the second quarter that rendered jobless over a fifth of the labor force in Luzon and may have pushed “five million Filipinos below the poverty line,” according to the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Philippine office.

Kelly Bird, country director of the ADB’s Philippines country office, said they projected gross domestic product (GDP) to shrink by 2.3-5.3 percent this year, gloomier than the government’s 2-3.4 percent forecast.

Bird said “data on tax revenue collections in the first half of 2020 implies the economy could contract by more,” even as “worse is most likely over now with the gradual opening of the economy,” referring to the eased restrictions under general community quarantine that allowed three-fourths of economic activities to resume with minimum health standards starting June.

The Philippine Statistics Authority’s April labor force survey placed the national unemployment rate at a 15-year high of 17.7 percent, equivalent to 7.3-million jobless Filipinos nationwide during the first full month of ECQ.

As such, Bird said “recovery could be fragile and a protracted U-shape in 2020 to 2021.”

“Some sectors will take longer to recover—‘high contact’ sectors like tourism, segments of retail and services, private education providers, etc.,” Bird noted.

He was nonetheless optimistic that GDP would rebound by 6.5 percent next year.


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