THE National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) has reported a significant improvement in the quality of employment in Northern Mindanao as the underemployment rate in the region has dropped by more than half as of July 2017.

Neda reported a drop in underemployment rate from 32.2 percent in July 2016 to 15.5 percent of the same period this year, adding that the number of underemployed persons has also decreased by 55.38 percent to 287,500.

The dwindling number of underemployed persons, Neda said, indicates that quality of employment has improved as more secured jobs with stable income were created.

The agency added that the latest figure brings the year to date average underemployment rate to 17.9 percent "which is better off than the region's target of 20 percent for 2017."

With the decline in underemployment rate, Neda also notes the increase in the employment rate in the region from 93.9 percent in July 2016 to 94.3 percent in July this year, adding that the number of unemployed persons in the region as gone down by 14 percent to 112,000 from 130,300.

This made the unemployment in the region drop from 6.1 percent to 5.7 percent, according to the Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

However, PSA also observed a decline in participation rate in the region at 6.9 percentage points which, the agency added, makes the number of employed persons to drop by 7.4 percent during the said period.

Filipinos working overseas has also decreased by 0.2 percent to 2,240,000 in 2016 from 2,447,000 in 2017.

Even with the drop in participation rate, the labor force in the region, according to the PSA report, still increased at 3,267,000 in July 2017 from 3,180,000 of the same period in 2016.