The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Hong Kong came in at 3.4 percent in three months to June of 2016, unchanged from the previous period, remaining at the highest level since 2013 for the third consecutive month. The underemployment rate was steady at 1.4 percent.
Comparing the three months to June of 2016 with the previous period, unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 1 500 from 134 600 in March - May 2016 to 136 100 in April - June 2016. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons decreased by around 1 800 from 55 900 in March - May 2016 to 54 100 in April - June 2016.
Movements in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) in different industry sectors varied. Increases were mainly seen in the real estate sector and education sector while decreases were mainly seen in the construction sector and professional and business services (excluding cleaning and similar activities) sector. As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly seen in the repair, laundry, domestic and other personal service activities sector while a decrease was seen in foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector.
Total employment increased by around 6 200 from 3 800 900 in March - May 2016 to 3 807 100 in April - June 2016. Over the same period, the labour force also increased by around 7 700 from 3 935 500 to 3 943 200.
On the short-term outlook, the employment outlook remains overshadowed by the increased external headwinds and the concurrent slowdown in inbound tourism and local consumption market. With the entry of fresh graduates and school leavers into the labour force during the summer season, the labour supply is likely to be boosted in the coming months. We will stay vigilant and monitor developments closely.