Since the end of World War II, the Philippines economy has seen a downward slide, from being one of the richest countries in Asia (after Japan), it is now one of the poorest. Growth just after the war was rapid, but slowed over time. Years of economic mismanagement and political volatility contributed to economic stagnation and resulted in macroeconomic instability. A severe recession from 1984 through 1985 saw the economy shrink by more than 10 percent, and perceptions of political instability during the Aquino administration further dampened economic activity.
During the 1990s, the Philippines government introduced a broad range of economic reforms designed to spur business growth and foreign investment. As a result, the Philippines saw a period of higher growth, although the Asian financial crisis in 1997 slowed Philippines economic development once again.
The service sector contributes more than half of overall Philippine economic output, followed by industry (about a third), and agriculture (less than 20%). Important industries include food processing; textiles and garments; electronics and automobile parts; and business process outsourcing. Most industries are concentrated in the urban areas around metropolitan Manila. Mining also has great potential in the Philippines, which possesses significant reserves of chromate, nickel, and copper. Significant natural gas finds off the islands of Palawan have added to the country's substantial geothermal, hydro, and coal energy reserves.
The agricultural sector comprises agricultural crops, fisheries, livestock and poultry and forestry. It accounts for about a fifth of the national output, employs more than half of the country's labor force and generates about two thirds of the country's export earnings.