MANILA -- Filipino businessmen expect to stretch out their gains in the remaining months of the year, buoyed by the high public confidence in President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and the bullish run of the financial markets, a new survey showed.

According to Dun&Bradstreet’s Business Optimism Index, volume of sales picked up further to 70 percent, edging a previous high 64 percent while net profits registered the biggest rise among the indices, up by 13 percent to reach 63 percent from 50 percent in the third quarter.

Volume of sales posted its third consecutive positive growth this year as D&B analysts attributed the rosy picture to robust financial markets.

The survey, however, saw declines in the growth of the construction and employment expectations with the construction index dipping further to 36 percent from 45 percent in the third quarter.

“Election spending was a non-factor already so we really expect it (construction) to decline,” said University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) economics professor Victor Abola.

In the employment sector, the index marked a six-percentage point drop in employment expectations but hiring expectations still exceeded layoffs by 14 percent.

The survey showed that the finance, insurance and real estate sectors are willing to hire new employees (+24 percent) followed by services (+21 percent) and construction (+18 percent).

“Notably, the rise in this index from 13 percent in the second quarter to 24 percent in the third quarter was in line with the latest Labor Force Survey in July. In this survey, 777,000 net new jobs were created compared to July 2009, compared to 414,000 new jobs generated in the year ending April 2010,” the survey said.

The survey included 260 firms from eight sectors: construction, manufacturing durables, manufacturing non-durables, wholesale, transport/communication/utilities, retail, services, and finance/insurance/real estate. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)