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

     Comparing July - September 2016 with June - August 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 wholesale sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the construction sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sector.

     Total employment decreased by around 3 400 from 3 816 800 in June - August 2016 to 3 813 400 in July - September 2016. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 4 000 from 3 958 000 to 3 954 000.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 600 from 141 200 in June - August 2016 to 140 600 in July - September 2016. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 600 from 55 900 to 55 300.


     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 July - September 2016, with both the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the underemployment rate staying at 3.4% and 1.4% respectively for the seventh consecutive period. Total employment and the labour force grew moderately further over a year earlier."

     "The unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) inched up by 0.1 percentage point over the preceding period to 5.3% in July - September 2016. On a year-on-year comparison, the unemployment rate was 0.7 percentage point higher. Within the segment, the retail sector was particularly hard hit by the weakness in the local consumption market, with its unemployment rate up by 0.9 percentage point over a year earlier to 5.5%."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "While the labour market has stayed resilient so far this year, the near-term employment outlook remains overshadowed by the unsteady external environment and the moderate growth of the local economy. We will stay vigilant and monitor developments closely."

     The Labour Department (LD) continues to conduct a series of diversified pre-employment training and employment services to help young people acquire the latest employment information, develop a career plan and improve their employability. The Youth Employment and Training Programme continues to launch the "e-Learning Support Scheme" this year to provide young Associate Degree graduates/High Diploma holders, as well as graduates of the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education of current year, with over 100 on-the-job training vacancies for the posts of e-Learning Support Associate and e-Learning Support Assistant. The programme aims to equip the youths with skills on information technology, creative media production and education services. Those employed have already commenced the 12-month on-the-job training in schools in September after undergoing the free pre-employment training, Mr Cheung noted.

     On large-scale job fairs, the LD will jointly organise a "New Opportunities - New Terrain Job Expo" with Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association at Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai on October 26 and 27. During the Expo, around 45 Sino-Hong Kong enterprises will offer some 3 000 job vacancies, many of which are suitable for young people with post-secondary education. Furthermore, the LD will organise two other large-scale job fairs at the Lai Kok Community Hall in Cheung Sha Wan on November 24 and 25 and the Wo Hing Sports Centre in Fanling on January 6, 2017. 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 July - September 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 April - June 2016 while the next issue covering the quarter July - September 2016 will be available by end November 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/Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:30
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