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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for October - December 2017
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for October - December 2017) released today (January 18) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 3.0% in September - November 2017 to 2.9% in October - December 2017. The underemployment rate remained unchanged at 1.1% in the two periods.

     Comparing October - December 2017 with September - November 2017, decreases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the real estate sector, and the foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector.

     Total employment increased by around 10 300 from 3 840 300 in September - November 2017 to 3 850 600 in October - December 2017. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 2 400 from 3 958 000 to 3 960 400.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 8 000 from 117 800 in September - November 2017 to 109 800 in October - December 2017. The number of underemployed persons in October - December 2017 was 42 100, about the same as in September - November 2017 (41 600).


     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said, "The labour market tightened up further. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 2.9% in October - December 2017, below 3% for the first time in nearly 20 years. Meanwhile, the underemployment rate remained at a low level of 1.1% for the sixth consecutive period. Total employment and labour force continued to grow appreciably year-on-year in the latest period.

     "The key contributing factors include the continuous growth of the Hong Kong economy, and the external demand staying vibrant with the support of the broadly benign global economic conditions, while at the same time the domestic demand attained solid growth.

     "Most major economic sectors recorded declines in their respective unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) over the preceding three-month period, with more notable decreases seen in the real estate and foundation and superstructure sectors. On a year-on-year comparison to net out seasonal fluctuations, the improvement in unemployment situation was particularly visible in the retail, financing, and professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sectors, thanks to the revival in related business activities over the past year."

     Looking ahead, Dr Law said, "The overall benign economic conditions are expected to keep the labour market tight in the near term. Nevertheless, we will continue to monitor closely the various external uncertainties and developments in the local labour market."

     He noted that to maximise the manpower potential, the Labour Department (LD) implements 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 under the programme may apply for a training allowance for a period of three to six months. The programme covers not only full-time employment, but also part-time jobs.

     On large-scale job fairs, the LD held 18 large-scale job fairs 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, offering more than 5 300 job vacancies from different industries including retail, catering and property management sectors. The LD will also participate in the Education & Careers Expo to be held from February 1 to 4, 2018 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to introduce information on local and Mainland employment as well as the Working Holiday Scheme. In addition, industry-based or district-based job fairs are constantly organised at the LD's industry-based 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 October - December 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/Thursday, January 18, 2018
Issued at HKT 16:30
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