US chipmaker Intel recently announced it was closing its semiconductor plant in Luzon, in the north of the country, putting 1,800 employees out of work.

The global downturn has also hit Filipino migrant workers, who in recent years have accounted for about 10 per cent of the country's economy through cash sent home from abroad.

Plunging exports

Hundreds of workers employed in the service and construction industries overseas have had to return home after losing their jobs.

Some protesters have demanded government efforts to protect workers from lay-offs [EPA]
As a result of the downturn the government has cut its economic growth target to between 3.7 and 4.4 per cent – the slowest growth rate in eight years.

Some analysts, however, have forecast that growth could fall to as low as two per cent.

Earlier this month the government announced exports in January had fallen 41 per cent over a year earlier, the biggest fall in at least 28 years.

The World Bank has forecast that the global economy will contract this year for the first time since World War II, with international trade declining by the fastest rate in 80 years.

And it has warned that developing nations are likely to bear the brunt of the contraction.