Comparing the three months to March of 2016 with the previous period, the number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) increased by around 9 700 to 130 400 and the number of underemployed persons went up by around 2 600 to 53 400.
The unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) saw a rise in most of the industry sectors. Increases were more visible in the construction sector and the retail sector. As to the underemployment rate, increases were mainly observed in the construction sector and the food and beverage service activities sector.
Total employment decreased by around 4 600 to 3.811 million while the labour force increased by around 5 100 to 3.942 million.
The Government spokesman for Labour and Welfare said that total employment and labour force grew only slightly over a year earlier. The sustained weakness in inbound tourism and the slackened growth momentum of local consumption lately have increasingly apparent impact on the labour market. Indeed, employment of the consumption and tourism-related sectors, viz. retail, accommodation and food services as a whole, witnessed the 11th consecutive year-on-year decline in January - March 2016. Among them, the retail and accommodation services sectors were hit harder, with their unemployment rates up by 0.4 percentage point and 1.8 percentage points over a year earlier to 5.5 percent and 5.2 percent respectively, higher than the overall unemployment rate.
On the short-term outlook, noting that the corporate hiring sentiment and employment outlook remain clouded by the uncertain economic prospects, and the lacklustre business performance of certain sectors such as retail, as well as the asset market consolidation, the spokesman said, that the potential repercussions of the above factors on the wider economy and labour market warrant particular attention. The Government will stay vigilant and monitor developments closely, especially the employment situation of grassroots workers.