MANILA — The domestic consumption especially by the youth remains the top contributor to the country's economic growth, Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Wednesday.
The economy expanded by 8.3 percent in the first quarter, which was faster than anticipated.
"[A]ng biggest source of growth ng Pilipino ay consumption kasi we have a very young population, and they are mostly, they are consumers, and very young," Diokno said in an interview.
(The biggest source of growth for the Philippines is consumption because we have a very young population)
"If you are aging, yung demand mo hindi na masyado. Hindi ka na bumibili ng mga gadgets, hindi ka na nagtatayo ng bahay, hindi ka na bumibili ng bagong damit," he added.
(If you're aging, the demand is not that high. You won't buy gadgets, build a home, shop for new clothes.)
Based on the data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, the youth labor force in May 2022 is at 7.30 million out of the estimated 20.14 million youth population or the 15 to 24-year-olds, the DOF said.
This translates to a youth labor force participation rate of 36.2 percent, it added.
In terms of the new addition to the country's labor force, there was an increase to 999,999 in May from 899,000 in April, data showed.
Youth employment rate also improved to 87.9 percent in May from 85.5 percent in the same month last year.
Due to the youth-led consumption, the economy is also "less susceptible" to global economic challenges since the country is not dependent on imports and exports, Diokno said.
On the supply side, growth in industry was the key driver. This includes manufacturing and services, he said.
Investments in the country also drive growth since they create jobs, he added.
The young generation also helps boost the digital economy, Diokno said.
During his term as Governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Diokno pushed for the digitalization of payments. Under the BSP Roadmap, it aims to digitalize half of retail payments by 2023.
Diokno said the digitalization of government agencies, especially the Bureau of Internal Revenues, could help improve revenue collection.