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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for February - April 2017
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for February - April 2017) released today (May 19) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.2% in February - April 2017, same as that in January - March 2017. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.2% in the two periods.

     Comparing February - April 2017 with January - March 2017, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) and underemployment rate in different industry sectors varied, but were all small in magnitude.

      Total employment decreased by around 5 700 from 3 822 400 in January - March 2017 to 3 816 700 in February - April 2017. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 3 500 from 3 947 400 to 3 943 900.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 2 200 from 125 000 in January - March 2017 to 127 200 in February - April 2017. The number of underemployed persons in February - April 2017 was 48 800, about the same as in January - March 2017 (49 000).


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui, said, "The labour market remained in a state of full employment in February - April 2017. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and the underemployment rate held steady at low levels of 3.2% and 1.2% respectively. Both total employment and the labour force continued to show sturdy growth over a year earlier, at 1.1% and 0.9% respectively.

     "While there were only small movements in the unemployment rates of most of the major economic sectors when compared with the preceding period, the unemployment rates of many sectors were lower than their year-ago levels alongside the improving economic conditions on entering 2017. Specifically, thanks to the continued recovery of inbound tourism, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) at 4.7% was 0.6 percentage point lower than its year-ago level."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Sui said, "The labour market is expected to remain tight in the near term. Yet, as the external environment is still clouded by various uncertainties, we will stay vigilant and monitor the developments closely."

     He said that the Labour Department (LD) would continue to offer a variety of free and comprehensive employment services for job-seekers with different employment needs, including the youth, the middle-aged and persons with disabilities. The Youth Employment and Training Programme (YETP) of the department provides comprehensive training and employment support to young school leavers aged 15 to 24 with educational attainment at sub-degree level or below. In April 2017, LD launched a new employment project under YETP called "Career Kick-start" to provide youths with special needs with 12-month on-the-job training through placements at non-governmental organisations with a view to enhancing their employability.

     In terms of large-scale job-fairs, the LD will stage the "Opening Up a New Terrain Job Fair" at Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on June 1 and 2. About 40 employers will participate in this event, offering over 2 200 job vacancies with some suitable for post-secondary education and fresh graduates. The LD will co-organise the Hong Kong International Airport Career Expo 2017 with the Airport Authority Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from June 9 to 11 during which many vacancies involving the aviation industry and airport operation will be offered. The department's three industry-based recruitment centres as well as the 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 February - April 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 October - December 2016 while the next issue covering the quarter January - March 2017 will be available by end-May 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/Friday, May 19, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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