The Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) revealed the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, yesterday. As per the data, the number of unemployed persons (not seasonally adjusted) in April - June 2019 was 114, 300, about the same as that in March - May 2019 (114 100).
Further, the underemployment rate also remained unchanged and the number of underemployed persons increased by around 2, 000 from 39, 200 in March - May 2019 to 41,200 in April - June 2019.which stood at 2.8 percent in April - June 2019, same as that in March - May 2019.
Speaking on the latest unemployment figures, the Secretary for Labour and Welfare, Dr Law Chi-kwong shared, “The labour market is expected to remain largely stable in the near term. The Government will stay vigilant to how a softer economic environment and other unfavourable factors will affect the local labour market going forward."
While the unemployment situation was broadly steady in most economic sectors, there are some sectors for which the jobless rate has increased. For instance, in foundation and superstructure works of the construction sector increased over the past year and the jobless rate in the import and export trade sector also rose over a year earlier amid weaker trade flow.
The Labour Department is making efforts to tackle the unemployment challenge, as Dr Law shared. There have been a series of on-going measures to promote the employment of elderly persons, including setting up special counters at job centres to provide priority registration and job referral services for elderly job-seekers.
The department has also organized tailor-made employment briefings for the elderly, set up a dedicated webpage for elderly job-seekers on the Interactive Employment Service website and enhanced the functions of the vacancy search terminals to facilitate their access to employment information and search for suitable vacancies.
Now, the government is also looking to host more job fairs and provide a platform for job seekers and employers to interact.
However, moves like organizing job fairs and setting up special centres for elderly are not enough to tackle the unemployment challenge. The jobless state also exists because of skill gaps and lack of job readiness. The government has to thus also invest in upskilling the workforce. Additionally, there are many other forces, from economic to technological, that are impacting the employment scenario in Hong Kong. The Labor Department would have to work more proactively in accessing the job and skills landscape and tune in all there initiatives in the right direction.