Unemployment and underemployment statistics for March - May 2017
Unemployment and underemployment statistics for March - May 2017
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     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for March - May 2017) released today (20 June) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.2% in March - May 2017, same as that in February - April 2017. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.2% in the two periods.

     Comparing March - May 2017 with February - April 2017, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) and underemployment rate in different industry sectors varied, but were all small in magnitude.

     Total employment increased by around 1 200 from 3 816 700 in February - April 2017 to 3 817 900 in March - May 2017. The labour force in March - May 2017 was 3 944 200, about the same as in February - April 2017 (3 943 900).

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 900 from 127 200 in February - April 2017 to 126 300 in March - May 2017. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 200 from 48 800 to 47 600.
      
Commentary

     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui, said, "Overall labour market conditions remained favourable in March - May 2017. Both the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the underemployment rate stayed at low levels of 3.2% and 1.2% respectively, essentially signifying full employment. Employment growth picked up slightly further in the latest period.

     "While most of the major economic sectors exhibited only small movements in unemployment rates when compared to the preceding three-month period, the sectoral unemployment rates were generally lower than their year-ago levels amid the favourable economic conditions of late. In particular, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) in March - May 2017, at 4.8%, was 0.5 percentage point lower than the year-ago level."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Sui said, "The labour market should remain tight in the near term. Nevertheless, the employment outlook for the rest of the year will continue to hinge on the development of various external uncertainties. We will stay vigilant and monitor the situation closely."

     He said that the Labour Department (LD) would continue to offer a variety of free and comprehensive employment services for job-seekers with different employment needs, including the youth, the middle-aged and persons with disabilities. A special programme, "Career Let's Go", is being held from May to August to provide employment support for this year's secondary school graduates. The department will also organise various training courses and interactive activities at Youth Employment Start (Y.E.S.) to enhance the job-hunting skills of graduates as well as help them unleash their potential at work, and provide graduates with career assessment and career consultation services.

     As for large-scale job-fairs, the LD will stage the Job Fair for Middle-aged and Elderly Employment at Tuen Mun Town Hall on July 28, with over 20 employers participating in the event. The LD will also organise another large-scale job fair at Dragon Centre in Sham Shui Po from August 22 to 24. The department's three industry-based recruitment centres as well as the local job centres will continue to conduct recruitment activities from time to time to assist job-seekers in finding employment.

Further information

     The unemployment and underemployment statistics were compiled from the findings of the continuous General Household Survey.

     The survey for March - May 2017 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 73 000 persons, selected in accordance with a scientifically designed sampling scheme to represent the population of Hong Kong.

     Data on labour force characteristics were obtained from the survey by interviewing each member aged 15 or over in the sampled households.

     In the survey, the definitions used in measuring unemployment and underemployment follow closely those recommended by the International Labour Organisation.

     Detailed analysis of labour force characteristics is given in the "Quarterly Report on General Household Survey" which is published four times a year. The latest issue of the publication contains statistics for the quarter January - March 2017 while the next issue covering the quarter April - June 2017 will be available by end August 2017. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp?productCode=B1050001).

     For enquiries about labour force statistics, please contact the Social Analysis and Research Section (2) of the C&SD (Tel: 2887 5508 or email: ghs@censtatd.gov.hk).
 
Ends/Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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