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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for May - July 2016
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for May - July 2016) released today (August 18) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.4% in May - July 2016, same as that in April - June 2016. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.4% in the two periods.

     Comparing May - July 2016 with April - June 2016, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. An increase was mainly seen in the warehousing and support activities for transportation sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the construction sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the construction sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the information and communications sector.

     Total employment increased by around 4 300 from 3 807 100 in April - June 2016 to 3 811 400 in May - July 2016. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 7 100 from 3 943 200 to 3 950 300.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 2 700 from 136 100 in April - June 2016 to 138 800 in May - July 2016. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 1 400 from 54 100 to 55 500.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market held largely stable in overall terms in May - July 2016, with both the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the underemployment rate remaining unchanged at 3.4% and 1.4% respectively. Total employment and the labour force grew further over a year earlier.

     "The unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) edged down by 0.1 percentage point over the preceding period to 5.3% in May - July 2016. On a year-on-year comparison, the unemployment rate was 0.7 percentage point higher, with employment therein dipping for the 15th consecutive period. Within the segment, the retail sector was particularly hard hit by the slackened inbound tourism and local consumption, with its unemployment rate up by 1.5 percentage points over a year earlier to 5.5%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "The near-term employment outlook is still clouded by the lingering external headwinds and their potential repercussions on local business sentiment. The easing trend in labour demand across a number of sectors remains a cause for concern. We will stay vigilant and monitor developments closely."

     To assist current secondary school graduates to enter the labour market, the Labour Department has launched a special programme "Career Let's go" from May to August this year. In addition, the Labour Department continues to provide through the Youth Employment and Training Programme comprehensive training and employment support to young school leavers aged 15-24 with educational attainment at sub-degree level or below.

     On large-scale job fairs, the last day of the three-day Tuen Mun Job Fair will be held at Tuen Mun Town Hall tomorrow (August 19). A Job Fair for Middle-aged and Elderly Employment will also be organised at the Yau Tong Community Hall on September 22 and 23 with around 40 employers participating to offer various job vacancies suitable for the middle-aged and the elderly. Another large-scale job fair is scheduled to be staged at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai on October 26 and 27. Besides, the Department's three industry-based Recruitment Centres and 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 May - July 2016 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 74 000 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 2016 while the next issue covering the quarter April - June 2016 will be available by end August 2016. 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/Thursday, August 18, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:30
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