MANILA, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) upgraded this year's growth forecast for the Philippines from the previous 4.8 percent to 5.5 percent on back of its robust first half growth.
In its latest Asian Development Outlook released Tuesday, the Manila-based lender said the stronger than expected 6.1 percent growth in the first half showed the Philippines economy remains resilient amid a global slowdown.
The ADB attributed this to increased consumer and public spending, growing capital investments and net exports. Inflation also remains under control at 3.5 percent for 2012.
"Increased business confidence bodes well for investment and future jobs. But the Philippines must guard against weaknesses outside its own economy that could have a knock-on effect," ADB Chief Economist Changyong Rhee said in a statement.
The ADB sees Philippine GDP expanding at five percent in 2013, unchanged from early projections. The bank also forecasts inflation at 4.1 percent owing to higher global food prices, as well as pressures from sustained strength in domestic demand.
But the ADB said the government needs to provide more job opportunities to promote inclusive growth.
"Despite solid economic growth, job generation remains inadequate, reflected in rates of unemployment and underemployment, " Neeraj Jain, ADB's Country Director for the Philippines, said in a statement.
Philippine government data showed poverty incidence remains high, with a third of its 90 million population still subsisting on less than two U.S. dollars a day. Unemployment is at seven percent, while 20 percent of the labor force are underemployed.
The ADB said that while the number of new jobs has grown by 1 million over the past year, this only reflects a rise in part time employment with 1.5 million positions created. Full-time jobs fell by 500,000 in the same period.