According to the latest labour force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for January - March 2018) released today (April 19) by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD), the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.9% in January - March 2018, same as that in December 2017 - February 2018. The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 1.0% in the two periods.
Comparing January - March 2018 with December 2017 - February 2018, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. The underemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors also showed different movements over the two periods.
Total employment in January - March 2018 was 3 872 400, about the same as in December 2017 - February 2018 (3 872 400). The labour force increased by around 5 100 from 3 979 300 in December 2017 - February 2018 to 3 984 400 in January - March 2018.
The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 5 200 from 106 900 in December 2017 - February 2018 to 112 100 in January - March 2018. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 1 400 from 40 300 to 38 900.
Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong, said, "The labour market remained tight in the first quarter of 2018, with both the unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) and underemployment rate staying low at 2.9% and 1.0% respectively. Total employment showed further sturdy growth on a year-on-year basis.
"When compared to the preceding three-month period, movements in jobless rates varied across sectors. Nevertheless, unemployment situation improved notably for most of the major service sectors vis-à-vis a year earlier, led by the trade- and tourism-related segments on the back of the positive global economic conditions and sustained recovery in inbound tourism."
Looking ahead, Dr Law said, "In the near term, labour market conditions will likely remain tight amid the generally favourable economic situation. Nevertheless, we will stay tuned to various external developments and their potential impact on the local labour market."
He noted that the Labour Department (LD) provides 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 for job-seekers. To assist job-seekers with special needs or employment difficulties (such as the youth, mature persons and persons with disabilities), the LD also implements special employment programmes to enhance their employability and facilitate their employment.
On large-scale job fairs, the LD will organise the Kowloon East Job Fair from May 15 to 17 at the Yau Tong Community Hall and about 70 employers will participate. The LD will also co-organise the Hong Kong International Airport Career Expo 2018 with the Airport Authority Hong Kong at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from June 29 to July 1. Ample vacancies involving the aviation industry and airport operation will be provided. 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.
The unemployment and underemployment statistics were compiled from the findings of the continuous General Household Survey.
The survey for January - March 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@example.com).
April 19, 2018