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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for July - September 2017
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for July - September 2017) released today (October 19) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.1% in July - September 2017, same as that in June - August 2017. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.1% in the two periods.
     Comparing July - September 2017 with June - August 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 repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector.
     Total employment decreased by around 3 800 from 3 841 200 in June - August 2017 to 3 837 400 in July - September 2017. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 5 600 from 3 971 200 to 3 965 600.
     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 1 800 from 130 000 in June - August 2017 to 128 200 in July - September 2017. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 500 from 45 200 to 43 700.
     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said, "The labour market remained tight in July - September 2017. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed at 3.1% for the fourth consecutive three-month period, while the underemployment rate was also unchanged at 1.1%, signifying a continuation of full employment."
     "While there were in general only small changes in the sectoral jobless rates when compared to the preceding three-month period, visible improvement was observed in many economic sectors over a year earlier. Specifically, the unemployment rates of the professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) and retail sectors saw more discernible year-on-year decreases in the latest period."
     On the short-term outlook, Dr Law said, "Barring any abrupt downturns in the external environment, labour market conditions will likely remain favourable in the near term. Yet, we will stay vigilant and closely monitor the relevant developments."
     He noted that the Labour Department (LD) provides an array of free and comprehensive employment services to job-seekers through a network of 13 job centres, three industry-based recruitment centres, a Telephone Employment Service Centre, the Interactive Employment Service website, the Higher Education Employment Information e-Platform and vacancy search terminals installed at various locations in the territory. Job-seekers who have difficulties in finding jobs are encouraged to participate in the Work Trial Scheme, under which work trials will be arranged to enhance job-seekers' employability and facilitate their employment.
     On large-scale job-fairs, the LD has already held 14 large-scale job fairs so far in 2017, with a total of some 30 400 job vacancies offered. The next large-scale job fair will be staged at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University from October 26 to 27. More than 45 enterprises from the Mainland and Hong Kong will participate in this event, offering more than 3 000 job vacancies from different industries with many suitable for young people with post-secondary education. The LD will also organise a large-scale job fair at the Southorn Stadium in Wan Chai from November 21 to 22. In addition, industry-based or district-based job fairs are organised at the LD's recruitment centres and job centres located across the territory 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 July - September 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/Thursday, October 19, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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