According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 4.2 percent in January to March, worse than the minus 0.7 percent registered a year earlier, but better compared with minus 8.3 percent in the final three months of 2020.
While public spending increased at its fastest pace in three quarters, expanding by 16.1 percent, all major sectors of the economy contracted in the first quarter. Household consumption, which accounts for more than 70 percent of GDP, failed to gain momentum as it declined anew by minus 4.8 percent for the fourth straight quarter. Lower spending is clearly an offshoot of the elevated unemployment rate with 3.44 million jobless Filipinos as of March.
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