Jobless rate remains at 2 pct as of end-February

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The unemployment rate of the MSAR hovered at 2 per cent for the period between December 2016 and February this year, while the total labour force registered a slight decrease from the previous period.
According to the latest official data released yesterday by the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC), the city’s total labour force fell by 0.7 per cent period-to-period to 387,000, of which the employed population accounted for 379,100 and those unemployed amounted to 7,900, both representing a decrease of 0.7 per cent period-to-period.
Of the total unemployed, fresh labour force entrants searching for their first job accounted for 8.4 per cent, an increase of 0.8 percentage points from the period between November 2016 and January this year, the DSEC notes.
The unemployment rate of local residents remained at 2.8 per cent for the period. The city’s underemployment rate also remained unchanged from one period earlier, at 0.5 per cent. However, the labour force participation rate decreased by 0.4 percentage points to 70.9 per cent, according to the data.

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In terms of sector, the city’s principal industries all saw employment levels decline during the three month-period, except for hotels & similar activities, whose employment rose by 1.7 per cent to 30,400, as compared to 29,900 from one period earlier.
Employment in gaming & junket activities reached 81,300, falling by 1.4 per cent period-to-period from the 82,500 registered in the previous period. The number of people employed in the wholesale & retail trade and construction, meanwhile, dropped by 0.2 per cent and 0.8 per cent, totalling 47,300 and 35,000, respectively.
Employment in restaurants & similar activities also recorded a slight drop of 0.1 per cent to 24,800 during the three months.
By proportion, 24.3 per cent of the city’s employed labour force was working for recreational, cultural, gaming & other services as at the end of February, followed by those working in hotels, restaurants & similar activities, which accounted for 14.6 per cent of the total.
Some 12.5 per cent of employed local workers were engaged in the wholesale & retail trade, while another 9.2 per cent were working in the construction sector.
Other major principal sectors for local employees included real estate & business activities, public administration and social security and domestic work, which made up 7.9 per cent, 7.1 per cent and 6.9 per cent of the employed labour force, respectively.
Compared to the period between December 2015 and February 2016, the city’s unemployment rate recorded a slight growth of 0.1 percentage point, while the underemployment rate remained steady. However, the total labour force participation rate declined by 1.6 percentage points year-on-year.