HONG KONG, June 17 -- Hong Kong's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate stood at 3.1 percent in March-May 2014, same as that in February-April 2014, the city's Census and Statistics Department said Tuesday.
The underemployment rate increased from 1.4 percent in the February-April period to 1.5 percent in March-May, according to the latest labor force statistics released by the department.
Comparing March-May with February-April, increases in the unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted) were mainly observed in the information and communications, and food and beverage service activities sectors, while decreases were seen in the construction and transportation sectors.
As to the underemployment rate, an increase was mainly observed in the decoration, repair and maintenance for buildings sector, according to the department.
Total employment increased by around 19,000 from 3,724,800 in February-April to 3,743,800 in March-May. Over the same period, the labor force also increased by around 18,500 from 3,846,200 to 3,864,700.
The number of unemployed people (not seasonally adjusted) decreased by around 500 from 121,400 in February-April to 120,900 in March-May. Over the same period, the number of underemployed persons increased by around 7,000 from 52,800 to 59,800.
Commenting on the latest unemployment figures, Hong Kong Secretary for Labor and Welfare Matthew Cheung said the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at a 16-year low of 3.1 percent for the fifth consecutive month in March-May 2014, while total employment was near the record high, reflecting the persistent tightness in the labor market.
On the short-term outlook, Cheung said downside risks to the Hong Kong economy have increased recently. Apart from the unsteady global economic recovery and escalating geopolitical risks, the recent softening trend in the local consumption market is also a cause of concern.