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

     Comparing October - December 2016 with September - November 2016, decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly seen in the information and communications sector, and the import and export trade sector. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector while an increase was mainly observed in the education sector.

     Total employment increased by around 10 700 from 3 806 300 in September - November 2016 to 3 817 000 in October - December 2016. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 2 200 from 3 936 900 to 3 939 100.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 8 600 from 130 600 in September - November 2016 to 122 000 in October - December 2016. The number of underemployed persons in October - December 2016 was 54 400, about the same as in September - November 2016 (54 700).

Commentary

     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Acting Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui, said, "The labour market stayed resilient towards the end of 2016. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 3.3% in October - December 2016. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.4% for the tenth period in a row. Total employment and the labour force grew moderately further over a year earlier. For 2016 as a whole, both total employment and the labour force sustained moderate growth at 0.8% and 0.9% respectively. The unemployment rate stayed at a low level throughout the year, averaging at 3.4% for 2016 as a whole.

     "The unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) went down by 0.3 percentage point over the preceding period to 4.9% in October - December 2016, with declines seen in all the individual sectors therein, alongside the relative improvement of inbound tourism in the more recent periods."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Sui said, "While the labour market can be expected to remain generally tight in the near term, the potential repercussions of various external uncertainties on the local economy remain a cause for concern. 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. To assist the middle-aged and elderly persons to find jobs, the LD launched the Employment Programme for the Middle-aged to encourage employers to take on unemployed job-seekers aged 40 or above and offer them on-the-job training. Employers who engage these job-seekers and provide them with on-the-job training may apply for a training allowance for a period of three to six months.

     On large-scale job fairs, the LD will participate in the Golden Age Expo & Summit organised by the Golden Age Foundation on January 21 and 22 to promote its employment services to elderly job seekers. The LD will also participate in the Education & Careers Expo organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council on February 23 to 26, and will stage two large-scale job fairs in Mong Kok on March 14 and 15. 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 October - December 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: [email protected]).
 
Ends/Thursday, January 19, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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