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Unemployment and Underemployment Statistics for March - May 2021
     According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for March - May 2021) released today (June 17) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 6.4% in February - April 2021 to 6.0% in March - May 2021. The underemployment rate also decreased from 3.3% in February - April 2021 to 2.8% in March - May 2021.
     Comparing March - May 2021 with February - April 2021, the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) decreased across almost all the major economic sectors, with more distinct decreases observed in the construction sector; and retail, accommodation and food services sector. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the retail, accommodation and food services sector; transportation sector; and arts, entertainment and recreation sector.
     Total employment increased by around 8 400 from 3 622 000 in February - April 2021 to 3 630 400 in March - May 2021. Over the same period, the labour force decreased by around 5 800 from 3 869 500 to 3 863 700.
     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 14 200 from 247 500 in February - April 2021 to 233 300 in March - May 2021. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 19 200 from 126 600 to 107 400.
     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong said, "The labour market improved further in March - May 2021 amid the economic recovery and receding local epidemic. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point from February - April 2021 to 6.0% in March - May 2021, and the underemployment rate decreased by 0.5 percentage point to 2.8%. Meanwhile, total employment rose by 8 400 over the preceding three-month period to 3 630 400, and the number of unemployed persons went down by 14 200 to 233 300."
     Analysed by sector, the unemployment rates of most economic sectors fell in March - May 2021 as compared with the preceding three-month period. In particular, the combined unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors (viz. retail, accommodation and food services sectors) fell by 0.5 percentage point to 9.4%. Among these sectors, the unemployment rate of food and beverage service activities fell by 0.8 percentage point to 11.3%. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate of the construction sector declined by 0.6 percentage point to 10.3%.
     Looking ahead, Dr Law said, "As the economy continues to recover, the pressure on the labour market should gradually ease, especially if the local epidemic remains well contained. Yet, the evolving global pandemic situation remains a key source of uncertainty. As the pace of economic recovery is uneven across sectors, the unemployment rates in some sectors may take a longer time to return to the pre-pandemic levels. To create favourable conditions for a full-fledged revival in the economy and hence a broad-based recovery in the labour market, it is essential for the community as a whole to work together to keep the epidemic under control and actively participate in the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme. The Government will continue to monitor the situation closely."
     Considering the current difficult situation faced by fresh graduates in finding employment, he pointed out that the Government has rolled out specific measures to assist them, including the creation of jobs dedicated for fresh graduates in the Job Creation Scheme under the Anti-epidemic Fund. Besides, the Government launched the Greater Bay Area Youth Employment Scheme in January 2021 to encourage young people of Hong Kong to work in Mainland cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and develop their career. As at June 3, 2021, 359 enterprises have provided a total of 2 720 job vacancies under the scheme, including 1 349 general posts and 1 371 innovation and technology posts, for graduates who were awarded bachelor’s degrees or above from 2019 to 2021.
     On large-scale job fairs, the Labour Department (LD) will organise the Mong Kok Job Fair on July 20 and 21, 2021 at the MacPherson Stadium. Over 40 employers will participate, offering a large amount of job vacancies from various industries.  Meanwhile, the LD will continue to receive and release information on job vacancies from various industries. In March – May 2021, the LD recorded an average of 81 882 vacancies from the private sector, representing an increase of 13.0% over the average figure in February - April 2021 and a year-on-year increase of 59.6%. Job-seekers may make use of the LD's online platforms such as the Interactive Employment Service website for obtaining such vacancy information.

Further Information
     The unemployment and underemployment statistics were compiled from the findings of the continuous General Household Survey.
     The survey for March - May 2021 covered a sample of some 26 000 households or 72 000 persons, selected in accordance with a scientifically designed sampling scheme to represent the population of Hong Kong. Labour force statistics compiled from this sample represented the situation in the moving 3-month period of March to May 2021.
     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.
     Statistical tables on the latest labour force statistics can be downloaded at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/en/EIndexbySubject.html?pcode=D5250021&scode=200). More detailed analysis of the 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 January - March 2021 while the next issue covering the quarter April - June 2021 will be available by end August 2021. Users can also download this publication at the website of the C&SD (www.censtatd.gov.hk/en/EIndexbySubject.html?pcode=B1050001&scode=200).
     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/Thursday, June 17, 2021
Issued at HKT 16:30
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