doleTACLOBAN CITY, April 28 — About 21,000 jobs are up for grabs on Monday’s Labor Day jobs fair in Eastern Visayas, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said on Friday.

The employment fair to be joined by 32 local business and eight recruitment agencies offering overseas jobs, will be held at the Leyte Academic Center in nearby Palo town.

The fair will also have a livelihood component for those interested in self-employment such as counselling, product display and sales, franchising exhibits, sharing of success stories, skills training, and job generation tips.

“This is to give the unemployed the opportunity to find a job, and those with entrepreneurial bent, an opportunity to earn an income,” said DOLE Regional Director Exequiel Sarcauga in a press briefing on Friday at the regional office.

Before May 1, applicants are encouraged to pre-register at the DOLE regional office in the bid to match qualified applicants with an employer.

Unlike last year, the labor department is setting targets for hire-on-the-spot applicants. “It is unrealistic to set goals for hired on the spot because there are series of tests required for hiring.”

Of the 21,008 jobs, at least 867 are for employment within the region. The remaining are for jobs abroad.

For the local, participating employers are hardware stores, retail shops, car sales, manpower services, food chain, government agency, hospital, private school, mobile phone shop, lending firm, pawnshop, and funeral parlor.

“With the adjustment the government has been doing through skills training, I hope this time we’re now able to define squarely what should be produced by suppliers to address the needs of employers. We have been doing this in the past 20 years,” Sarcauga said.

The region, composed of six provinces – Leyte, Samar, Biliran, Southern Leyte, Eastern Samar, and Northern Samar – has about two million people in the labor force. The region’s employment rate is at 93.6 percent as of January 2017.

Although jobless rate is low at only 6.4 percent, underemployment rate is still high at 23.2 percent, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

The PSA defines the underemployed as “employed persons who express the desire to have additional hours of work in their present job, or to have additional job, or to have a new job with longer working hours.” (Sarwell Q. Meniano/PNA)