In the three months to September, the jobless rate was unchanged for residents (3.1 percent) while declined slightly for citizens (3.2 percent from 3.3 percent). However, the rates remained higher than a year ago.
Total employment contracted by 2,300, following declines in the prior two quarters, due to sustained falls in Work Permit Holders in construction (-9, 500 from -10,500 in Q2) and manufacturing (-2,100 from -3,600). Meantime, services sector saw employmrent rose at a faster pace (9,200 from 7,000).
Some 3,400 workers were laid off, lower than 3,640 workers in the June quarter and a year ago (4,220). The decline came from manufacturing ( 730 from 840 in Q2) and services (2,180 from 2,330), while layoffs rose in construction (490 from 470). Services formed the bulk of the retrenchments (64 percent), mainly in wholesale trade (14 percent) and financial services (13 percent).
The rate of re-entry among retrenched residents rose to 66.0 percent, after holding steady in the preceding three quarters. The increase in re-entry rate was broad-based across most age, occupational and education groups.
The number of job vacancies among private sector establishments with at least 25 employees and the public sector was unchanged from the prior quarter at 49,000. Including the estimated number of job vacancies from private sector establishments with less than 25 employees, the number of job vacancies for the whole economy rose slightly. Along with fewer job seekers, the seasonally adjusted ratio of job vacancies to unemployed persons improved to 87 job vacancies per 100 unemployed persons in the September quarter from 85 in Q2, continuing the uptrend observed this year. Yet, there were still more unemployed persons than job vacancies.
The seasonally adjusted recruitment rate was unchanged from the previous quarter (at 2.1 percent). Meanwhile, resignation rate rose by 1.8 percent. It was the levels held prior to the brief decline in the second quarter of 2017.