Macau: Unemployment in Total Figures

Unemployed1In the last post we had looked at the current and previous unemployment rate in Macau as well as how the same developed on a consecutive and quarter-to-quarter basis. Hereafter, once again with the help of the Statistics Database of Macau, we add in total figures and headcounts of employed and unemployed portion of Macau’s labor force.

Above graph shows the actual total figure of unemployed labor force in Macau developing over the years from Q1 2004 to Q3 2013. As can be see a general downward trend is recognizable along with previously identified 2008 Financial Crisis Peak. Total Unemployment fell from 12,500 to 6,900 workers with the exception of Q1 2009 where unemployment peaked at 12,800.

The above resembles very much the unemployment rate development curve, however there is one labor market condition so far not visible: The actual development of the labor force itself.



As can be seen from the above the actual labor force grew from 2004 to 2013 from 225,200 to 371,200, which is an increase by 64.8%. Hence the increase in the overall amount of labor force also helped to show a lower unemployment rate throughout the years.

Comparing unemployment rate and total figure of unemployed on can see the correlation clearly:



However this is obvious, as the unemployment rate is calculated by division of the total figure of unemployed by the total figure of the labor force market at any given point in time. Yet (as shown above) this includes the effect new labors that entered the market and got employed, hence the curves are not perfectly aligned at all times (such as 2005, 2006).

Now the following questions arise:

  • What is the source of the new labors that entered the market within 8 years and raised the market by 64%? Usually there are only two options:
    • Natural growth, i.e. resident graduates into the market
    • Imported labor that entered from outside the labor force market

There are other options available (retirees coming out of retirement, former residents having lived abroad and returning home, long-term sick that recovered, etc.), however the above mentioned two options should be the majority of cases. This can be seen at the labor force market shrinking in the aftermath of 2008. Resident workers would count as unemployed, whereas imported labor might be more easily forced to leave the country, i.e. drop from the statistics.

  • How many new graduates entered the labor market each year and how many imported labor entered?
  • What is the percentage of longterm unemployed withing the unemployed labor force? How many of these are counted for short term only and how many are “stuck” in unemployment for several years?
  • What are the qualifications of the unemployed sector?
  • What are the industries that the employed labor force got accumulated in? And which “former industries” were the unemployed working for previously (if that can be conclusively deducted)




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