1.5 M employed in R-12, mostly in agri sector

Statistical data from the regional branch of the National Statistics Office
was presented here today as regional development planners convened to come up
with a "Regional Action Plan on Workforce Productivity and Competitiveness."

Essentially, the forum wants to establish the region's manpower supply versus
the demand for the identified priority business sectors.

Ma. Lourdes Lim, regional director of the National Economic and Development
Authority, presented inputs in line with efforts to create "a productive and
globally-competitive workforce" from among the region's labor force.

The inputs were part of a paper titled "Research Paper on Manpower Supply and
Demand in Region 12” but Lim said the paper is still a work in progress.

In terms of the employment situation in the region, Lim said employment and
unemployment rates for the region in October 2006 stood at 95.3% and 4.7%,
respectively.

Total employed persons number 1.55 million, an increase of 34,856 from the
year ago-level of 1.51 million employed persons.

She stated the underemployment rate declined by 4.8% in October 2006 to 25.6%
from the year ago figure of 30.4%.

Central Mindanao, which covers the provinces of South and North Cotabato,
Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal,
Tacurong, Kidapawan and Tacurong, has classified three major industry groups
namely agriculture, industry and services.

Agriculture, which also includes hunting, forestry and fishing, provided the
most employment at 823,000 (53.2%) in October 2006, slightly up by .5% from
819,000 the previous year.

On the other hand, the number of workers in the services sector was 38.4%
(593,000) of the total employed persons in October 2006, or an increase of
1.1% from the previous year's figure of 564,000.

Services sector includes wholesale and retail trade, hotels and restaurants,
transport, storage and communication, among others.

The industry cluster, composed of mining and quarrying, manufacturing,
construction, electricity, gas and water, employed 128,000 people in October
2006 and 127,000 a year ago.

No comprehensive data was presented on the profile of college graduates in the
region because some schools failed to submit their reports to the regional
offices of the Commission on Higher Education and the Technical Education and
Skills Development Authority.

The profile of college graduates is essential to meet the supply and demand
aspect of the identified priority industry sectors in the region.

But partial data showed that of the 5,011 graduates in school year 2005-2006,
939 and 741 graduates took up tourism and nursing, respectively, which are
courses outside the region's identified top three priority industrial grouping.

Only 16 graduates took up metallurgical/chemical engineering courses in the
region, which hosts mining ventures like the huge Tampakan copper and gold
project.

The region produced only 102 graduates in the agribusiness priority sector
with occupational skills of entrepreneurs. (MindaNews)

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