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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for September - November 2017
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for September - November 2017) released today (December 18) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.0% in September - November 2017, same as that in August - October 2017. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.1% in the two periods.
     Comparing September - November 2017 with August - October 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 food and beverage service activities sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector.
     Total employment increased by around 3 200 from 3 837 100 in August - October 2017 to 3 840 300 in September - November 2017. Over the same period, the labour force decreased by around 2 700 from 3 960 700 to 3 958 000.
     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 5 800 from 123 600 in August - October 2017 to 117 800 in September - November 2017. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 2 600 from 44 200 to 41 600.
     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said, "The labour market remained in full employment in September – November 2017, with both the unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) and underemployment rate staying low at 3.0% and 1.1% respectively. Total employment picked up further in growth on a year-on-year basis."
     "On the back of a vibrant economy, the unemployment rates in most sectors were notably lower than their year-ago levels, including in particular such service sectors as retail, professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities), and import and export trade."
     On the short-term outlook, Dr Law said, "Labour market conditions will likely remain tight in the near term given the generally favourable macroeconomic environment. This notwithstanding, we will stay tuned to various uncertainties in the external environment and developments in the local labour market."
     He noted that the Labour Department (LD) has been actively providing a range of free and comprehensive employment services for job-seekers. These include the implementation of various employment programmes catering for those with special needs or difficulties in employment, such as the youth, the middle-aged and elderly, and persons with disabilities; the canvass of vacancies for job-seekers with different educational background and working experience; and the organisation of large-scale job fairs in different locations. The Employees Retraining Board is also closely monitoring market situation and will flexibly deploy its resources to provide more employment-oriented courses that meet the market demand, so as to assist people in need to acquire new or upgraded skills and enhance their employability and competitiveness.
     On large-scale job-fairs, the LD has held 18 large-scale job fairs so far in 2017, with a total of over 38 400 job vacancies offered. The next large-scale job fair will be staged at the Lung Sum Avenue Sports Centre in Sheung Shui on January 19, 2018. About 60 employers will participate in this event, offering more than 5 000 job vacancies. The LD will also participate in the Education & Careers Expo to be held on from February 1 to 4, 2018 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to introduce local employment information, information on Mainland employment and the Working Holiday Scheme. In addition, industry-based or district-based job fairs are constantly 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 September - November 2017 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 74 000 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 July - September 2017 while the next issue covering the quarter October - December 2017 will be available by end February 2018. 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, December 18, 2017
Issued at HKT 16:30
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