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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for November 2017 - January 2018
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for November 2017 - January 2018) released today (February 22) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.9% in November 2017 - January 2018, same as that in October - December 2017. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.1% in October - December 2017 to 1.0% in November 2017 - January 2018.
     Comparing November 2017 - January 2018 with October - December 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 in the underemployment rate was mainly observed in the construction sector.
     Total employment increased by around 11 500 from 3 850 600 in October - December 2017 to 3 862 100 in November 2017 - January 2018. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 8 300 from 3 960 400 to 3 968 700.
     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 3 200 from 109 800 in October - December 2017 to 106 600 in November 2017 - January 2018. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 900 from 42 100 to 40 200.
     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. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stayed low at 2.9% in November 2017 to January 2018, while the underemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 1.0%, a low level last seen in the second half of 1997. Meanwhile, total employment continued to show appreciable year-on-year growth.
     "Analysed by sector, the changes in individual jobless rates were minimal when compared to the preceding three-month period. Nevertheless, unemployment situation improved notably across many major service sectors on a year-on-year comparison, led by tourism-related industries such as retail and accommodation services amid the further recovery in inbound tourism, as well as the financing, and professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sectors on the back of strong economic conditions."
     Looking ahead, Dr Law said, "In view of the sanguine economic situation on entering 2018, the labour market is expected to remain tight in the near term. Yet the employment outlook for the rest of the year will continue to hinge on how various external uncertainties evolve. We will stay vigilant and monitor the situation closely."
     On youth employment, he noted that the Labour Department (LD) would continue to provide through the Youth Employment and Training Programme comprehensive training and employment support to young school leavers aged 15 to 24 with educational attainment at sub-degree level or below. 
     On large-scale job fairs, a Leap into a New Page Job Expo, suitable for young people with post-secondary education, will be held at the Hong Kong Productivity Council on March 13 and 14, 2018. In addition to 54 employers offering about 3 700 job vacancies, the Hong Kong Police Force, the Immigration Department, Qianhai International Liaison Services Limited and the Shanghai-Hong Kong Youth Association would join the Expo. The LD will also stage the Mong Kok Job Expo – Building a Multi-culture Workplace on March 21 and 22, 2018, at MacPherson Stadium. Over 90 employers, eight training bodies and the Race Relations Unit of the Home Affairs Department will participate. In addition, industry-based or district-based job fairs are regularly organised at the LD's industry-based recruitment centres and job centres located across the territory.
Further Information
     The unemployment and underemployment statistics were compiled from the findings of the continuous General Household Survey.
     The survey for November 2017 - January 2018 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, February 22, 2018
Issued at HKT 16:30
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