The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Wednesday that it was optimistic about the Philippine economy in the years of 2013 and 2014, while expressing concern over the country's weak job market.
In its updated version of Asian Development Outlook 2013 released on Wednesday, the bank sharply upgraded Philippines' 2013 gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast to 7.0 percent from 6. 0 percent in April. For 2014, the growth is estimated at 6.1 percent, from the previous projection of 5.9 percent.
However, local policymakers were advised to solve the puzzle of how to translate economic growth into more jobs for Filipinos to reduce poverty across the country.
"The challenge is how to establish the link between strong economic growth and poverty reduction," ADB Senior Economist for the Philippines Norio Usui said at a press conference.
Commenting on the report, Usui attributed the Philippines' progress to massive reforms implemented by the Aquino administration over the last three years, namely the reduction in the country's deficit, higher spending on infrastructure, and efforts to curb corruption.
Meanwhile, the bank said that over the past two years, the Philippines failed to reach the official goal of adding 1 million new jobs a year, which are needed to absorb new entrants into the labor force and put a dent on joblessness.
Usui said nearly a third of job seekers in the Philippines do not have college degrees that are needed for positions in the service sector, meaning the Philippine government needs to revive its long-neglected manufacturing sector, which can absorb blue collar workers.
"This requires sustained efforts to clear obstacles to direct investment, to upgrade infrastructure, and to make improvements in governance," the ADB said in the reports.