In the three months to March, the jobless rate was unchanged compared to the prior quarter for residents (3.2 percent) and citizens (3.5 percent).
Some 4,800 workers were laid off, lower than the fourth quarter (5,440), but similar to a year ago (4,710). Redundancies declined in manufacturing, but continued to increase in construction and services.
Total employment fell 8,500, compared to the seasonal high in the prior quarter (2,300). It was the biggest quarterly contraction in nearly 14 years. The decline occurred in manufacturing (-4,400) and construction (-12,900), mainly due to a decrease in Work Permit Holders. At the same time, services employment continued to grow (8,700), though growth was slower than the first quarter of 2016 (13,200).