EMPLOYMENT rate in Davao Region increased by 1.3 percent to 1.993 million (95.5 percent) employed individuals in 2016 from 1.924 million (94.2 percent) in 2015.

National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) - Davao regional director Maria Lourdes Lim reported during the Kapehan sa PIA Friday, February 3, that the increase can be attributed to the growing market confidence here fueling jobs last year.

She added that the election campaign period last year boosted a number of election-related jobs and businesses including printing and advertising, among others.

Job generation, Lim said, should also be attributed to the programs launched by the Public Employment Service Office (Peso) under the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole), the local government units (LGU), and the private sectors.

“This kept the labor statistics near the 2016 employment target,” Lim said, adding that the Davao Region employment target for 2016 was at 95.9 percent. However, the region had exceeded the national average employment rate at 94.5 percent.

Neda also bared that as the region’s employment rate rises, the underemployment rate posted a decline of 2.3 percent to 16.7 percent from last 2015’s 19 percent.

This had also surpassed the national average underemployment rate at 20.7 percent. But the number did not meet the region’s target of 15 percent.

“This lower underemployment rate suggests that there were more part time workers that were able to secure regular jobs with working hours of at least 40 hours a week,” she said, noting that some were also able to find more stable jobs as their skills matched the skills demanded by the region’s industries and services and establishments.

Lim said Dole prioritizes programs that strengthen the linkage between the academe and the industries to align the curricula with the demand of Davao region’s industry to further lower underemployment here.