Number of jobless expected to rise

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Thursday, April 24, 2014


WITH thousands college and university graduates, the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) is expecting the number of unemployed to further increase.

Dole Regional Director Henry John Jalbuena said the agency continues to address the unemployment surge together with other agencies by conducting job fairs, skills matching and career coaching especially in colleges and universities.

Dismissing a bleak outlook for the Cordillera workforce, Jalbuena said the region’s unemployment rate does not concern university and college graduates but mostly those 15 to 24 years old who are barely high school graduates and lacking skills needed by employers and investors.

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Recent Labor Force Survey results show employment rate in January 2014 dipped, from 725,000 employed in January 2013 to only 708,000 employed individuals.

Jalbuena said this may be directly attributed to the decrease of the region’s labor force from 766,000 in 2013 to only 757,000 this year.

But the Dole director said the region’s unemployment rate of 6.5 percent is still better than the national unemployment average of 7.5 percent.

This as he highlighted 99,000 (14 percent) underemployed individuals in the region this year is lower to last year’s 133,000 (18.4 percent) underemployed.

Majority of those unemployed are from the agriculture and services sector with majority according to the regional director “are not actually looking for a job but have been qualified for joining the region’s labor force.”
Of the total 757,000 labor force of the region, only 65.1 percent are actually looking for jobs while others who are capable of working have not expressed interest in joining the region’s work force.

Jobs available, skills matching

But Jalbuena stressed thousands of jobs are available in the region with top local vacancies for customer service representatives and technical service representatives in Business Process Outsourcing firms.

Job opportunities for local employment are also available for real estate and health consultants, sales representatives, programs assistants, waiters and waitresses, cahiers, sales and stock clerks and bartenders.

Jalbuena said majority of the unemployed, mostly high school graduates and undergraduates, fail to meet requirements of present investors. There are job vacancies which do not require baccalaureate degrees but rather skills needed in the industry.

Most of the employed according to the regional director remain in the retail, service and manufacturing sector including those engaged in Small Medium Enterprises.

Retooling and skills development and career coaching for students are being pused by Dole together with its attached agencies and partners, such as, Department of Trade and Industry and Technical Education Skills Development Authority (Tesda) to address the high unemployment rate.

DTI regional director Myrna Pablo said they are encouraging the unemployed to venture into SMEs through roving academies and trainings conducted even in far-flung towns and sitios. She said some P90 million is available to provide opportunities to the unemployed wanting to start their own businesses or expand their existing businesses through improvement of their products.

Through entrepreneurship, Pablo added, one million additional jobs will be generated every year in the country.

Tesda Baguio-Benguet director Angela Gabriel said the agency will offer to some 29,918 graduates various short courses for appropriate skills and job matching.

Labor Day Jobs Fair

To further trim the number of unemployed and accommodate fresh graduates from the region’s universities and colleges, a Labor Day Jobs Fair will be held at the Baguio Convention Center and SM City Baguio on May 1.

As of April 22, some 19 local and 9 overseas employment firms have confirmed participation in the jobs fair for some 9,074 job vacancies, 3,163 of these jobs available locally.

Participating companies in the job fairs include local businesses, educational institutions, BPOs, manufacturing firms, SMEs, fast food chains, and mall retailers among others.

Vacancies are also available at the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Philippine National Police and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency.

The Labor Day Jobs Fair at the Baguio Convention Center will include a One Stop Shop Government Service Clinic participated in by the Baguio City Police Office, Pag-ibig, Philhealth, National statistics Office, Social Security System, Civil Service Commission, Professional Regulatory Commission, Commission on Higher Education, City Treasurer’s Office and the National Bureau Investigation.

A wellness services clinic catering to free massage and haircut will be spearheaded by Technical Skills and Development Authority and a Livelihood Fair will be conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry at the Baguio Convention center parking area.

The livelihood fair will showcase the products of Dole-CAR livelihood projects around the region while the PLDT, they will provide a free International Direct Dialing service to family and relatives of Overseas Filipino Workers during the Jobs fair.

Some 5,011 job opportunities for overseas employment are also available according to the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration.

POEA regional director Delfina Camarillo said Overseas Filipino Workers processed by the agency has increased from 18,622 in 2012 to 20,933 in 2013.

As of March 2014, 6,694 have already processed applications at the POEA after being rehired in their job posts, hired by agencies and hired directly by employers. This number according to the POEA is expected to increase sharply in the next few months due to the influx of new college graduates.

For overseas job orders, the top five positions with most demand remain for nurses, laborers in the agriculture, construction and service sectors, house and office cleaners, engineers and drivers of light vehicles to heavy equipment.

Top destinations for OFWs are Middle East countries that include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar. Another top destination for Cordilleran OFWs is Japan.

Labor officials called on job seekers to take the opportunity of finding employment during the jobs fair as they eye an increase in their Hired On The Spot (HOTS) rate this year.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 25, 2014.

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