By URIEL C. QUILINGUING
Contributing editor .
WHILE Northern Minda-nao posted the highest labor participation rate among regions last year at 66 percent, way above the 60.9 national figure, yet it has a relatively high underemployment rate at 20.5 percent.
This, however, was set aside during a news conference on Thursday which the Philippine Statistics Authority-10 organized.
The focus was on the regional economy which grew by seven percent in 2018 which was among the region’s quickest climb from 5.8 percent the previous year.
Because of this, region 10 became the country’s 7th fastest growing regional economy last year, according to PSA 10 officer-in-charge Janith Aves.
Aves attributed the encouraging regional macro economic situation to the services sector which recorded an 8.9 percent growth while the industry sector accelerated by 8.8 percent, despite agriculture sector’s minimal 0.4 percent growth.
Meanwhile, National Economic and Development Authority 10 regional director Mylah Faye Aurora Cariño confirmed the relatively high seven-percent growth of the regional economy.
Cariño described Northern Mindanao’s economy to be “robust and steady” and expressed optimism the uptrend will go on this year—and the years to come—even in midst of the ongoing dry spell and the effects of the national budget approval delay.
Aside from election spending, which is generally perceived to activate economic activities, at least in the first half of the year, the Neda-10 highest official said the infusion of P228-billion investments, duly registered with the Board of Investments would have an impact in the region’s industry sector.
She, however, admitted that while Region 10 has a 94.9-percent employment rate and a 5.1-percent unemployment rate, the 20.5 percent underemployment rate is among the highest among 16 regions.
Cariño said Northern Mindanao has a relatively high underemployment because of the seasonality in the hiring of workers, hence the need for alternative sources of income.
Comparatively, Region 10 ranked 6th in 2018 which, in real terms, would mean that about 800,000 of the Northern Mindanao’s 3.305 million labor force—15 years old and over— need to work more hours in order to supplement his income from a regular job.
Other regions with relatively high underemployment rates in 2018 were: Region 5, 34.5 percent; Caraga, 29.4 percent; Region 6, 23.8 percent; Region 4B, 22.1 percent; and Region 2, 20.8 percent.
Aves said PSA defines “underemployment as employed persons who express he desire to have additional hours of work in their present job or an additional job, or have a new job with lower working hours.”
She further classified underemployment to two: the visibly underemployed persons, those who wok less than 40 hours a week, and the underemployed persons, those who work for 40 hours or more.
In an earlier press statement, the PSA announced that a family of five in 2018 needed an average of P10,481.00 per month to meet their basic food and non-food needs.
This is way above the gross monthly take-home of about P9,788.00 a wage earner from Cagayan de Oro—the highest in the region—received since the daily minimum wage was pegged at P338.00 under Wage Order RX-19.
Other than Cariño, NSA Central Office’s assistant national statistician Wilma Guillen also graced the occasion.