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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for August - October 2016
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for August - October 2016) released today (November 17) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.4% in August - October 2016, same as that in July - September 2016. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.4% in the two periods.

     Comparing August - October 2016 with July - September 2016, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. An increase was mainly seen in the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the construction sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector.

     Total employment decreased by around 2 500 from 3 813 400 in July - September 2016 to 3 810 900 in August - October 2016. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 7 000 from 3 954 000 to 3 947 000.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 4 500 from 140 600 in July - September 2016 to 136 100 in August - October 2016. The number of underemployed persons in August - October 2016 was 55 300, about the same as in July - September 2016 (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 August - October 2016, with both the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the underemployment rate staying at 3.4% and 1.4% respectively for the eighth consecutive period. Total employment and the labour force sustained moderate year-on-year growth.

     "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 5.2% in August - October 2016. On a year-on-year comparison, the unemployment rate was 0.5 percentage point higher. As the downtrend of inbound tourism appeared to have stabilised slightly, the retail sector's unemployment rate went down by 0.2 percentage point over the preceding period to 5.3%, while the respective year-on-year increase also narrowed to 0.5 percentage point."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "While the labour market is expected to remain largely stable in the near term, the considerable external uncertainties and their potential impact on the local economy remain causes for concern. We will stay vigilant and monitor developments closely."

     He pointed out that the Labour Department (LD) will continue to provide a range of comprehensive and free employment services for job-seekers with different employment needs. The Employees Retraining Board is also providing more employment-oriented courses that meet market demand so as to assist people in need to acquire new or upgraded skills, and enhance their employability and competitiveness.

     On large-scale job fairs, the LD will organise a Retail Industry Job Fair at Lai Kok Community Hall in Cheung Sha Wan on November 24 and 25. Forty employers offering 3 700 vacancies will join the job fair. Another large-scale job fair will be organised by the LD at Wo Hing Sports Centre in Fanling on January 6, 2017. The LD will also participate in the Golden Age Expo & Summit 2017 organised by Golden Age Foundation to be held on January 21 and 22, 2017 to promote its employment services to elderly job seekers. 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 August - October 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/Thursday, November 17, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:30
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