Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, USA
Hong Kong
News Release

Unemployment rate stood at 2.8%


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March 19, 2019 - According to the latest labor force statistics (i.e. provisional figures for December 2018 - February 2019) released today by the Census and Statistics Department of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 2.8% in December 2018 - February 2019, same as that in November 2018 - January 2019. The underemployment rate decreased from 1.1% in November 2018 - January 2019 to 1.0% in December 2018 - February 2019.

Comparing December 2018 - February 2019 with November 2018 - January 2019, movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied, but were generally small in magnitude. Movements in the underemployment rate also varied, with a relatively notable decrease observed in the construction sector.

Total employment decreased by around 5 900 from 3 872 600 in November 2018 - January 2019 to 3 866 700 in December 2018 - February 2019. Over the same period, the labor force also decreased by around 5 200 from 3 974 400 to 3 969 200.

The number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 700 from 101 800 in November 2018 - January 2019 to 102 500 in December 2018 - February 2019. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 1 900 from 42 200 to 40 300.

Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, Hong Kong Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr. Law Chi-kwong said, "The labor market remained in full employment in December 2018 - February 2019. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained unchanged at 2.8%, while the underemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 1.0%."

"When compared to the preceding three-month period, movements in unemployment rates varied across sectors, but were mostly small in magnitude. Meanwhile, a visible decline in the number of underemployed persons was seen in the construction sector. When compared with a year earlier, the unemployment situation in many major service sectors improved, notably in the retail, and accommodation and food services sectors amid the sustained expansion in inbound tourism."

Looking ahead, Dr. Law said, "The labor market is expected to stay tight in the near term. Nevertheless, the Government will stay vigilant to the external uncertainties and monitor the potential impact on the local labor market closely."

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