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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for December 2017 - February 2018
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     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for December 2017 - February 2018) released today (March 19) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.9% in December 2017 - February 2018, same as that in November 2017 - January 2018. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.0% in the two periods.
 
     Comparing December 2017 - February 2018 with November 2017 - January 2018, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) and underemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied, but were all small in magnitude. 
 
     Total employment increased by around 10 300 from 3 862 100 in November 2017 - January 2018 to 3 872 400 in December 2017 - February 2018. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 10 600 from 3 968 700 to 3 979 300.
 
     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) in December 2017 - February 2018 was 106 900, about the same as that in November 2017 - January 2018 (106 600). The number of underemployed persons in December 2017 - February 2018 was 40 300, about the same as that in November 2017 - January 2018 (40 200).
           
Commentary
 
     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said, "Labour market conditions remained favourable in December 2017 - February 2018. Both the unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) and underemployment rate stayed low, at 2.9% and 1.0% respectively. Total employment sustained appreciable growth on a year-on-year basis."
 
     "While changes in sectoral jobless rates were minimal compared to the preceding three-month period, the unemployment situation continued to show notable year-on-year improvement across many service sectors, particularly so for tourism-related industries such as retail and accommodation services amid the further recovery in inbound tourism."
 
     Looking ahead, Dr Law said, "The labour market will likely remain tight in the near term on the back of generally positive local economic sentiment. We will continue to monitor the situation closely."
 
     To further encourage employers to hire elderly persons and provide them with on-the-job training, he noted that the Labour Department (LD) plans to enhance the Employment Programme for the Middle-aged this year. An on-the-job training allowance of up to $4,000 per month for a period of six to 12 months will be provided to employers engaging elderly job seekers aged 60 or above who have left the workforce or are unemployed.
 
     On large-scale job fairs, the "Mong Kok Job Expo - Building a Multi-culture Workplace" will be held for job seekers with diversified cultural backgrounds at the MacPherson Stadium on March 21 and 22, 2018. Over 90 employers, eight training bodies and the Race Relations Unit of the Home Affairs Department will participate. The LD will also organise the Kowloon East Job Fair from May 15 to 17, 2018 at the Yau Tong Community Hall. 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 December 2017 - February 2018 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 75 000 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 October - December 2017 while the next issue covering the quarter January - March 2018 will be available by end-May 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: [email protected]).
 
Ends/Monday, March 19, 2018
Issued at HKT 16:30
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