Unemployment and underemployment statistics for May - July 2017

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for May - July 2017) released today (August 17) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.1% in May - July 2017, same as that in April - June 2017. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.2% in April - June 2017 to 1.1% in May - July 2017.
     Comparing May - July 2017 with April - June 2017, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied, but were all small in magnitude. As to the underemployment rate, a decrease was mainly seen in the decoration, repair and maintenance for the buildings sector.
     Total employment increased by around 11 400 from 3 822 100 in April - June 2017 to 3 833 500 in May - July 2017. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 14 500 from 3 947 200 to 3 961 700.
     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 3 000 from 125 200 in April - June 2017 to 128 200 in May - July 2017. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 1 200 from 45 500 to 44 300.
     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said, "The labour market remained in full employment, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate staying at 3.1% in May - July 2017. Amid the favourable market conditions, the underemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 1.1%, which was the lowest level in almost two decades. Both labour force and total employment continued to show appreciable year-on-year growth.
     "While the jobless rates of most of the major economic sectors saw little change from the preceding three-month period, the unemployment rates of many sectors were lower than their year-ago levels amid the robust economic growth.  More specifically, owing to the resilience in domestic demand and the relative improvement in inbound tourism, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz. retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) in this period inched down by another 0.1 percentage point to 4.6%, a low level last seen in late 2015."
     On the short-term outlook, Dr Law said, "In the near term, the overall labour market conditions are expected to remain tight alongside a generally positive hiring sentiment. Yet, we will stay vigilant and closely monitor the developments in the external environment and their potential impacts on the local labour market in the months ahead."
     He noted that the Labour Department (LD) provides a myriad of free and comprehensive employment services that include: implementing employment programmes specially for job-seekers who have special needs or obstacles in employment, such as the youth, middle-aged and persons with disabilities; canvassing vacancies for job-seekers with different educational background and work experience; and organising large-scale job fairs in various locations to accelerate the dissemination of employment information to provide suitable support services which meet the needs of the job-seekers.
     On large-scale job-fairs, the LD has already held 10 large-scale job fairs so far in 2017, with a total of over 24 200 job vacancies offered. The next large-scale job fair will be staged at Dragon Centre in Sham Shui Po from August 22 to 24. A total of 66 employers will participate in this event, offering some 4 200 job vacancies from the retail and other industries. The LD will also organise large-scale job fairs at the Tsuen Wan Town Hall from September 28 to 29 and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University from October 26 to 27. 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 May - July 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 Organization.
     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 January - March 2017 while the next issue covering the quarter April - June 2017 will be available by end August 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/Thursday, August 17, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30