Unemployment and underemployment statistics for June - August 2017

     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for June - August 2017) released today (September 18) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.1% in June - August 2017, same as that in May - July 2017. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.1% in the two periods.
     Comparing June - August 2017 with May - July 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, an increase was mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the education sector.
     Total employment increased by around 7 700 from 3 833 500 in May - July 2017 to 3 841 200 in June - August 2017. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 9 500 from 3 961 700 to 3 971 200.
     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1 800 from 128 200 in May - July 2017 to 130 000 in June - August 2017. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also increased by around 900 from 44 300 to 45 200.
     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said, "The labour market remained in a state of full employment, with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate and underemployment rate staying at low levels of 3.1% and 1.1% in June - August 2017 respectively. Both labour force and total employment continued to record strong year-on-year increases."
     "While there were only small movements in the sectoral jobless rates when compared to the preceding three-month period, most of the major sectors registered declines in unemployment rate over a year earlier amid the above-trend local economic growth. In particular, 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 stayed at 4.6%, which was 0.6 percentage point lower than a year earlier."
     Looking ahead, Dr Law said, "While overall labour market conditions are expected to remain tight in the near term, we will stay vigilant to the potential impact of various external uncertainties."
     To assist the middle-aged and mature persons to find jobs, he noted that the Labour Department (LD) launched the Employment Programme for the Middle-aged to encourage employers to take on 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. To encourage employers to provide more suitable job vacancies for elderly persons, the programme covers not only full-time employment, but also part-time jobs which are more popular amongst some elderly persons.
     On large-scale job-fairs, the LD has already held 12 large-scale job fairs so far in 2017, with a total of some 27 000 job vacancies offered. The next large-scale job fair will be staged at Tsuen Wan Town Hall from September 28 to 29. A total of 56 employers will participate in this event, offering some 3 400 job vacancies from different industries. The LD will also organise large-scale job fairs at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University from October 26 to 27 and Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai from November 21 to 22. In addition, district-based job fairs are organised at the LD's Job Centres and Recruitment Centres from time to time to assist job-seekers in seeking employment.
Further information
     The unemployment and underemployment statistics were compiled from the findings of the continuous General Household Survey.
     The survey for June - August 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 April - June 2017 while the next issue covering the quarter July - September 2017 will be available by end November 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, September 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30