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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for November 2016 - January 2017
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     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for November 2016 - January 2017) released today (February 20) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in November 2016 - January 2017, same as that in October - December 2016. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.4% in October - December 2016 to 1.3% in November 2016 - January 2017.

     Comparing November 2016 - January 2017 with October - December 2016, decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly seen in the food and beverage service activities sector and the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector.

     Total employment increased by around 14 100 from 3 817 000 in October - December 2016 to 3 831 100 in November 2016 - January 2017. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 11 200 from 3 939 100 to 3 950 300.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 2 800 from 122 000 in October - December 2016 to 119 200 in November 2016 - January 2017. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 3 900 from 54 400 to 50 500.

Commentary

     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui, said, "The labour market continued to display resilience in November 2016 - January 2017. While the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 3.3%, the three-monthly underemployment rate inched down by 0.1 percentage point to 1.3% after remaining unchanged for ten consecutive periods. Both total employment and the labour force posted moderate year-on-year growth.

     "Benefited from the relative improvement of inbound tourism in the more recent periods and the usually more buoyant business activities in the run-up to the Lunar New Year, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) edged down further by 0.1 percentage point over the preceding period to 4.8% in November 2016 - January 2017."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Sui said, "While the labour market will likely remain generally tight in the near term, the employment outlook still hinges on the play-out of various external uncertainties surrounding the local economy down the road. With the private sector enterprises normally reviewing their annual staffing position after the Lunar New Year, we will stay vigilant and monitor developments closely."

     He noted that following the successful collaboration with the MTR Corporation Limited and the Hospital Authority to launch the Junior Tradesman Associate Training Project and Patient Care Assistant Training Project respectively for the first time in 2016 to provide comprehensive pre-employment and on-the-job training opportunities to youths with educational attainment of Form three who lack relevant qualification and working experience, the Labour Department (LD) has again launched the Aviation Recruitment Series earlier this year in collaboration with four employers from the aviation industry. A joint job fair entitled "I Can Fly, From Ground to Sky" has been organised to provide young people with on-the-job training vacancies in the industry.

     On large-scale job fairs, the LD will participate in the Education & Careers Expo organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council on February 23 to 26 to promote the LD's employment services, and provide information on Mainland employment and the Working Holiday Scheme. The LD will stage two large-scale job fairs in Mong Kok on March 14 and 15, with 96 employers participating to offer over 5 600 job vacancies. There will be eight training bodies participating in the fair as well. 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 November 2016 - January 2017 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 73 000 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/Monday, February 20, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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