In the first quarter, the jobless rate for residents was down to 2.7 percent from 2.9 percent in the December quarter and the rate for citizens also fell to 2.6 percent from 3.0 percent. The decline was largely due to a lower labour force participation rate among youths aged 15 to 24.
Some 4,600 workers were made redundant in the first quarter of 2016, down from 5,370 in the preceding quarter and higher than 3,500 a year ago, amid ongoing business restructuring. Over the quarter, layoffs also fell in manufacturing and construction, and increased in services.
Total employment is estimated to have increased by 11,400 in the first quarter of 2016. This was slower than the seasonally high growth in the fourth quarter of 2015 (16,100) and was a reversal from the decline (-6,100) in the first quarter of 2015. The employment increase in the first quarter of 2016 was mainly driven by services (11,900 from 21,500 in the previous quarter). Employment in construction grew (1,600) while manufacturing employment continued to decline (-2,000) for the sixth consecutive quarter.