The employment situation of Davao region in 2014 was generally positive and encouraging, sending optimistic signal in 2015 as the country continues its projected growth.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – Davao Regional Director Joffrey M. Suyao said the area has consistently achieved high employment rate posting 94.5% on the October Labor Force Survey of the Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA). On the same period last year, Davao Region posted only 93.3% .

“More significantly the latest survey results also revealed that there are more quality jobs right now as the underemployment rate which posted 17.6%  on the same survey compared to the April 2014 results of 20.2%.

The region’s employment rate is higher than the national rate of 94%; While the region’s 5.5%  unemployment rate and 17.6% underemployment rate are lower than the 6.0%  and 18.7% national figures, respectively.

Labor and Employment  Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz in a press briefing cited the efforts of both private establishments and government units, particular DOLE’s regional offices on the improvement of quality jobs in the country as a whole, as unemployment also dropped to its lowest in 10 years.

“The challenges that we need to address continue to be access to education, healthcare, and human resource development. We have to narrow the gap between the knowledge, skills and abilities of young people entering the workforce and the knowledge, skills and abilities that employers are looking for,” she said.

Baldoz said that for 2015, the Aquino Administration saw it fit to increase the budget for identified priority sectors, for the development of a number of business zones, or fast growing areas outside NCR to distribute and expand opportunities.

Along with the national directives, Suyao is confident that the region will lead in the come-back of the agricultural sector in 2015 and the positive track of manufacturing, construction and tourism industries.

Among the highlights of 2015 employment outlook based on the DOLE’s national projection:

• Agricultural sector may regain its large share in employment given the prioritization of the Agricultural Development in the 2015 budget. The administration aims to increase the productivity of the agriculture and fisheries sector to 3.5-4.5 percent growth in Gross Value Added. The ASEAN Economic Integration 2015 is expected to create additional 100,000 jobs (1.1 million by 2025).

• The manufacturing industry currently generates 8 percent of total employment, projected to continue to expand in the next two years. 2015 would be the second year of implementation of the Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP) which will focus on the growth of the manufacturing sector.

• The construction industry is assumed to have a constant annual growth of 6 percent or additional 142,000 workers. This figure may be as high as 8.5 percent (204,000) in consideration of the government’s planned and ongoing infrastructure projects. The 2015 budget supports the commitment to enable poor Filipinos to own safe and affordable homes through socialized housing.

• In 2015, the Tourism sector is projected to employ 6.3 million direct workers (overall), increase its share to P970 billion (5.7 percent of the GDP), and attract 8.2 million international visitors and 51.7 million domestic travelers.

• Employment in IT-BPM activities, subsumed in administrative and support service activities, and information and communication, will continue to escalate fast assuming its constant growth of 8 percent and 5 annually, respectively. Focusing on the IT-BPM industry alone, the IBPAP foresees a 1.3 million employment in 2016. While the IT-BPM industry currently has 700,000 workers, this may imply a 100 thousand employment generated per year to reach the 2016 target.

Sherwin B. Manual/DOLE-XI