Unemployment and underemployment statistics for December 2016 - February 2017


Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for December 2016 - February 2017) released today (March 16) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.3% in December 2016 - February 2017, same as that in November 2016 - January 2017. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.3% in November 2016 - January 2017 to 1.2% in December 2016 - February 2017.
 
     Comparing December 2016 - February 2017 with November 2016 - January 2017, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied.

An increase was mainly seen in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector while a decrease was mainly seen in the real estate sector. As to the underemployment rate, decreases were mainly seen in the cleaning and similar activities and the construction sector.

     Total employment increased by around 15 000 from 3 809 400 in November 2016 - January 2017 to 3 824 400 in December 2016 - February 2017. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 13 300 from 3 930 500 to 3 943 800.

     The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 1 700 from 121 100 in November 2016 - January 2017 to 119 400 in December 2016 - February 2017.

Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons also decreased by around 1 300 from 50 100 to 48 800.

     Based on the latest population benchmark from the results of the 2016 Population By-census released on February 27, 2017, the population figures since the 2011 Population Census have been revised. Following the usual practice, the labour force statistics for previous periods since May - July 2011 have also been revised to incorporate the revised population figures. The labour force statistics released as from this round (December 2016 - February 2017) onwards pertain to the newly revised series.

The whole series of revised labour force statistics can be found in the website of the C&SD (http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp">www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp).

Commentary

     Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Mr Stephen Sui, said, "The labour market stayed resilient in December 2016 - February 2017. While the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 3.3%, the three-monthly underemployment rate inched down further by 0.1 percentage point to a three-year low of 1.2%. On a year-on-year comparison, both total employment and the labour force picked up somewhat in growth.

     "Alongside the relative improvement of inbound tourism and the usually more buoyant business activities during the festive period, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related segment (viz retail, accommodation and food services as a whole) edged down by 0.1 percentage point over the preceding period to 4.8% in December 2016 - February 2017.

Specifically, the unemployment rate of the retail sector fell by 0.2 percentage point to 5.1%, only marginally higher than its year-ago level."

     On the short-term outlook, Mr Sui said, "The labour market will likely remain tight in the near term. We will, however, stay vigilant and monitor the potential impacts of various external uncertainties on the local economy and employment situation closely."

     He said the Labour Department (LD) would continue to provide a range of free and comprehensive employment services for job-seekers with different employment needs, including the youth, middle-aged and persons with disabilities. The LD would also continue to liaise with employers of different industries to canvass vacancies for job-seekers with a mixed range of educational background and work experience; and organise large-scale job fairs in different districts to provide employment information and support services catering for the needs of the job-seekers.

     The LD will stage two large-scale job fairs at Yau Tong Community Hall on May 17 to 19 and Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on June 1 and 2.

The department's three industry-based Recruitment Centres and local job centres will continue to conduct recruitment activities from time to time to assist job-seekers in finding employment.

Further information

     The unemployment and underemployment statistics were compiled from the findings of the continuous General Household Survey.

     The survey for December 2016 - February 2017 covered a sample of some 25 000 households or 73 000 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 Organisation.

     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 which contains statistics for the quarter October - December 2016 has been published today while the next issue covering the quarter January - March 2017 will be available by end-May 2017. Users can download this publication free of charge at the website of the C&SD (http://www.censtatd.gov.hk/hkstat/sub/sp200.jsp?productCode=B1050001">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).



Published on: 2017-03-16

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