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Unemployment and underemployment statistics for June - August 2019
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for June - August 2019) released today (September 17) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.9% in June - August 2019, same as that in May - July 2019. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.0% in the two periods.
     Comparing June - August 2019 with May - July 2019, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. A relatively notable decrease was observed in the construction sector, while an increase was mainly seen in the food and beverage service activities sector. Movements in the underemployment rates in different industry sectors also varied, but were generally small in magnitude.

     Total employment decreased by around 3 600 from 3 867 300 in May - July 2019 to 3 863 700 in June - August 2019. Over the same period, the labour force also decreased by around 1 500 from 3 985 800 to 3 984 300.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 2 100 from 118 500 in May - July 2019 to 120 600 in June - August 2019. The number of underemployed persons in June - August 2019 was 41 000, about the same as that in May - July 2019 (40 700).

     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong said, "The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 2.9% in June – August 2019. The underemployment rate was also unchanged at 1.0%. However, total employment was slightly lower than the level a year ago."

     "Analysed by major sector, the unemployment rate of the retail, accommodation and food services sectors taken together increased further over the preceding three-month period, amid weak local consumption and plunging visitor arrivals caused by the recent social incidents. The unemployment rate of the construction sector went down from the preceding three-month period, but employment of the sector continued to show a year-on-year decline due to subdued construction activities."

     Looking ahead, Dr Law said, "As economic conditions have deteriorated further lately, the local labour market will unavoidably be subject to increasing pressure in the near term. The Government will monitor the labour market closely."

     He noted that the Labour Department (LD) is committed to helping different job-seekers find work by providing comprehensive and free employment services through its job centres, industry-based recruitment centres and on-line platforms etc., with a view to providing appropriate support services which meet the needs of the job-seekers. At the same time, the LD implements special employment programmes for job-seekers who have special needs or difficulties in employment (such as the youth, mature persons and persons with disabilities) to enhance their employability and facilitate their employment.

     On large-scale job fairs, the LD will organise the Job Fair for Middle-aged and Elderly Employment on October 3 and 4 at the Lok Fu Place. About 30 employers will participate, offering over 2 200 vacancies from various industries. The LD will also organise the New Opportunities-New Terrain Job Expo on October 29 and 30 at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and another Job Fair for Middle-aged and Elderly Employment on November 13 and 14 at the Sheung Wan Civic Centre. 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 June - August 2019 covered a sample of some 26 000 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 April - June 2019 while the next issue covering the quarter July - September 2019 will be available by end-November 2019. 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 Household Statistics Analysis Section of the C&SD (Tel: 2887 5508 or email: ghs@censtatd.gov.hk).
Ends/Tuesday, September 17, 2019
Issued at HKT 16:30
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