In the first quarter of 2016, citizen unemployment fell to 2.7 percent from 2.9 percent in the previous quarter and resident unemployment dropped to 2.6 percent from 3.0 percent. Among residents, unemployment rose among those aged 30 and over, in particular, among the 50 and over for the fourth consecutive quarter. This increase was offset by the decline in unemployment rate for younger residents aged below 30 due to lower labour force participation rate among youths aged 15 to 24.
Total employment grew by 13,000, lower than the seasonal high of 16,100 in the preceding quarter but higher than the contraction in the first quarter of 2015 (-6,100). Employment in the first quarter was mainly driven by services (13,200) such as community, social & personal services (8,600), financial & insurance services (1,900) and transportation & storage (1,800). In contrast, a decline in employment was seen for: retail trade (-700), accommodation (-400), administrative & support services (-400).
Some 4,710 workers were laid off, down from 5,370 workers in the December quarter 2015 but higher than the same period in a year earlier (3,500). It was the highest first quarter redundancies since 2009. By sector, redundancies rose in services but declined for manufacturing and construction. The bulk of redundancies were from services (54 percent), mainly professional services (13 percent), wholesale trade (11 percent) and financial services (9.1 percent). This was followed by manufacturing (38 percent) and construction (8.2 percent).
About 46 percent of residents made redundant in the fourth quarter of 2015 secured employment by March 2016, down from 50.0 percent from the previous quarter and 57 percent from the same period a year ago. This is the lowest since June 2009 (43 percent).
Job vacancies decreased over the quarter to 50,000 in March 2016 from 53,900 in December 2015. This brought the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons down to 103 openings per 100 seekers in March 2016, from 112 in December 2015 and 139 in March 2015. The ratio was the lowest since June 2012 (98).