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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for September - November 2016
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for September - November 2016) released today (December 19) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 3.4% in August - October 2016 to 3.3% in September - November 2016. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.4% in the two periods.

     Comparing September - November 2016 with August - October 2016, decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly seen in the professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sector and the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the education sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the retail sector.

     Total employment decreased by around 4 600 from 3 810 900 in August - October 2016 to 3 806 300 in September - November 2016. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 10 100 from 3 947 000 to 3 936 900.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 5 500 from 136 100 in August - October 2016 to 130 600 in September - November 2016. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 600 from 55 300 to 54 700.


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, said, "The labour market continued to display resilience and remained in full employment in September - November 2016. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 3.3%, after staying at 3.4% for eight consecutive periods. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.4% for the ninth straight period. Total employment and the labour force grew moderately further over a year earlier.

     "The unemployment rate of the consumption-related and tourism-related segment (retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) remained unchanged at 5.2% in September - November 2016 when compared to the preceding period. This was largely consistent with the relative stabilisation of inbound tourism lately."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Cheung said, "Labour market condition looks set to remain tight in the short term. Yet, the outlook beyond the near term continues to be overshadowed by a highly uncertain external environment, with potential impact on the local economy. We will stay vigilant and monitor developments closely."

     He pointed out that the Labour Department (LD) would continue to provide a range of comprehensive and free employment services for job-seekers with different employment needs. From January to November 2016, the LD held 19 large-scale job fairs, with a total of 519 employers and 15 training bodies participating. The job fairs provided over 34 300 job vacancies, mainly from the retail, catering, property management and transportation industries. The LD will organise a North District Recruitment and Training Expo 2017 at the Wo Hing Sports Centre in Fanling on January 6, 2017. There will be 57 employers offering over 5 000 vacancies at the fair. Eight training bodies will also introduce job training programmes at the venue and receive applications on the spot. 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.

     "To strengthen employment support for job seekers with higher education, the LD will launch a new 'Higher Education Employment Information e-Platform' tomorrow (December 20). Apart from local graduates, this e-platform will also facilitate Hong Kong students who are educated in tertiary institutions elsewhere, the second generation of Hong Kong emigrants who are interested to work in Hong Kong, as well as persons from overseas with higher academic/professional qualifications to access information on Hong Kong employment market. They can also search and apply for suitable job openings through this new dedicated webpage," Mr Cheung said.

     The LD will also participate in large-scale exhibitions organised by various organisations to promote its employment services. On January 21 and 22, 2017, the LD will participate in the Golden Age Expo & Summit 2017 organised by Golden Age Foundation to promote its employment services to elderly job seekers. The Department will also participate in the Education & Careers Expo organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council on February 23 to 26, 2017.

Further Information

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

     The survey for September - November 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 July - September 2016 while the next issue covering the quarter October - December 2016 will be available by mid-March 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/Monday, December 19, 2016
Issued at HKT 16:30
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